MISSING TEETH – WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT THEM?
Sometimes unfortunate things can happen and this may result in you losing your teeth in an accident or needing them to be removed. Most people will consider replacement of missing teeth to improve their appearance, but it will also improve your speaking and chewing, and thus enable you to enjoy all variety of foods and drinks.
For some people, replacing missing teeth can be quite daunting, and most people will take a little while to process through the steps; however, we’ve got you covered with a summary of your options below.
Implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement and are the next-best thing to your natural teeth. A dental implant is a titanium screw that is placed into your jaw. After it integrates with the surrounding bone, a crown is then fixed into the implant to replace the missing teeth.
Additionally, in severe cases of multiple missing teeth, implants can be used in patients with dentures to help loose dentures stay “locked” in the mouth, creating a stable and comfortable environment.
The Pros of Dental Implants:
- Natural looking
- High success rates in healthy patients
- Same maintenance as your natural teeth – you can brush and floss like normal
- Stable and comfortable, as well as strong and functional
- Doesn’t require removing tooth structure from adjacent teeth
The Cons of Dental Implants:
- Requires pre-planning and multiple appointments
- Requires minor surgery
- The success rate is lower in patients with particular medical histories (bisphosphonate usage, diabetes, current smoker, etc.) and poor gum health and hygiene
- Has minimum requirements for the amount of bone and proximity to nearby teeth and other important structures, that may require additional procedures to correct
In cases of single-tooth replacements, bridges are considered the second-best solution. A bridge is when the two teeth on either side of a space receive crowns, and then a fake tooth, or “pontic,” is added in between to fill the space.
The Pros of Dental Bridges:
- Fixed—not taking it in and out means better function than a removable denture
- Natural looking
- Faster than implants
- Less stringent anatomical requirements
- Less dependent on patient’s health history and can be done at any age
The Cons of Dental Bridges:
- Must have adjacent teeth on either side of the space
- Have to crown adjacent teeth
- Harder to maintain/keep clean under the bridge, which could lead to recurrent decay
- Natural bone loss under the bridge can lead to gaps between the gums and bridge leading to food packing
Removable Partial Dentures
These days, partial dentures, which are removable appliances, are ideally the last option for tooth replacement. Partial dentures come in different shapes and materials.
Pros of Removable Partial Dentures:
- Don’t require surgery
- Rarely require more than minor alterations to existing teeth
Cons of Removable Partial Dentures:
- Less aesthetic – plastic teeth will never match natural teeth well
- Less stable – can fall out or dislodge whilst eating or talking
- Less functional – may not be able to eat harder foods
- Bulky and can be less comfortable
- Must be removed and cleaned daily