At Lindley Dental we do our best to try and maintain teeth. Sometimes though removing a tooth is unfortunately the best option. Occasionally teeth don’t form and are missing from the outset.
So what are your options if you are missing a tooth and would like to replace it?
This traditional treatment still does have a place. Dentures are often used as a transitional treatment before other treatment. Following an extraction time is needed to allow the gums to remodel.
If the remaining teeth are not of ideal condition a plastic denture maybe appropriate long term. They are relatively low cost and be altered and added to as needed. If a full denture is needed later it will be easier to adjust to if you have worn a partial denture first.
In other circumstances teeth adjacent to the space can be used to support a metal denture. This can be made smaller and thinner than a plastic one. The remaining teeth can be clasped making the denture more secure.
Partial dentures will tend to increase the accumulation of plaque and so do not help the health of the remaining teeth. Plus they are not attached so will move to some extent. Some patients find them hard to tolerate in their mouth as they can feel bulky. On the plus side very good cosmetic results can be achieved, the technician can select the right teeth for your situation. Pink plastic above the teeth can make up for lost gum tissue and help to support the face.
Bridges involve using the teeth adjacent to the gap are used to carry the false tooth or teeth. Unlike dentures they do not cover your palate or impinge on your tongue. There are two types:
Acid Etch Retained Bridge
These have a complicated name that refers to how they stay in place. I prefer “sticky” bridges. Basically a metal wing is stuck to the neighbouring tooth and this holds the false tooth in place. The main advantage is that very little preparation is needed of the tooth holding the bridge.
The tooth holding the bridge needs to be in good condition and your bite needs to be favourable. They tend to work better towards the front of the month.
We have used them for patients with congenitally missing teeth i.e. the teeth didn’t form. We have also used them on many occasions where patients have lost teeth though gum disease.
Traditional fixed Bridges
For these teeth either side of the gap have crowns made, these crowns then carry a false tooth between them. If the neighbouring teeth are already filled this can be a good option. If they are relatively untouched then this option sacrifices a lot of healthy tooth.
They can be used in situations where a sticky bridge would not work e.g. less favourable bites. Done well and looked after they can last many years. When they fail however it is usually because the teeth adjacent to the space that have either broken or decayed and this can mean losing those teeth.
These are the modern answer to missing teeth.
What is a dental implant? It is an artificial tooth root made out of titanium. The dental implant is placed into the jaw bone and then supports crowns, bridges or dentures according to how many teeth are missing and the situation. Dental implants are made of titanium a material that is well accepted by the body.
Dental Implants are as close as you can get to replacing natural teeth, both in their appearance and their performance. Firmly anchored into your mouth, they provide a permanent solution for missing teeth which does not involve work on the adjacent teeth – an important advantage over bridges. Neither do they impinge on the gums of the remaining teeth, so they’re kinder to your gums than a denture or a plate.
You do not need an implant per missing tooth. For example 2 implants can be used to support a bridge that replaces 3 teeth.
They are a more costly option but usually are superior to the other options.
Not all practices can offer this advanced treatment we are very proud that at Lindley Dental we can courtesy of Karl Walker-finch.
We are happy to discuss any or all of these options with you.
So don’t just tolerate that gap give us a call!