The loss of teeth can occur for a variety of reasons. Trauma, genetic and environmental factors, lifestyle risks or issues with prior surgery can all result in patients suffering from the loss of one or more teeth. So, can missing teeth be replaced? The good news is, yes – there are many options available to have it replaced, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Replacing a missing tooth is important to not only your oral health, but your overall health in general. Here are some reasons why…
Missing teeth may affect your speech patterns, causing slurring of words or whistling whilst talking. It may be difficult to chew food that you once enjoyed. This may lead to a loss in self-confidence.
Each tooth in your mouth sits neatly in a row, keeping each other lined up and stable. Teeth may drift out of place, leading to a change in your bite, potential gum disease and possible caries as they drift out of place.
Even the loss of a back tooth can cause your mouth to change, accelerating facial ageing. The loss of a tooth may cause your bone to deteriorate and muscles may droop overtime.
Without the roots of your tooth anchored in your jawbone, the possibility of bone resorption may be of concern, resulting in shrinkage or bone loss as part of this complex biological process.
Temporomandibular joints ( TMJ) are the muscles located on the side of your head that help you to chew and rotate your jaw. The loss of a tooth can cause changes to these muscles and the systems they are connected to.
There are several different ways of replacing missing teeth. Some include…
Partial Denture: A removable appliance made of acrylic or chrome cobalt which fits inside the mouth and is held in place by two or more clasps going around existing teeth.
- Inexpensive and simple
- May be a good short-term solution
- Easy to repair
- Gum coloured acrylic can be used where gum shrinkage has occurred
- Chrome cobalt is not as bulky as acrylic and fits more accurately
- Chrome cobalt frame is thinner and stronger than the acrylic frame
- Can be bulky
- May cause damage to the teeth and gums
Bridges: Bridges can replace damaged or missing teeth. They are a fixed restoration that is cemented or bonded in place. Bridges are made up of crowns and a pontic (false tooth). The crowns attach to the adjacent teeth next to the gap and the pontic acts as the new tooth.
- Beautiful aesthetics and appearance
- Cemented and fixed in place
- Feels quite natural and mimics natural tooth function
- More expensive than a denture
- Teeth on either side of the missing tooth need to be prepared and trimmed so that the crowns can be placed on these teeth (even if it is a healthy tooth with no previous restorations)
- May not be suitable for young patients
- May be difficult to repair if damaged or broken
- Requires a high level of oral hygiene to prevent any gum problems happening around the crowns or under the false tooth
Dental implant: Using a titanium rod, Dental Implants mimic the function of your natural tooth. Of all the tooth replacement options available, a dental implant is the closest to a natural tooth. The titanium implant is a replacement for original tooth roots, offering you a strong and sturdy foundation for a new crown. The upper part of the artificial tooth will be designed to match the form and aesthetics of your natural teeth by using a porcelain crown.
- Beautiful aesthetics and appearance like that of a natural tooth
- Improve oral cavity functions – chewing efficiency mimicking normal functions of the oral cavity and similar to that of a natural tooth
- Conservative – Neighbouring teeth are conserved
- Great comfort – feels like a natural tooth
- Better oral health – dental implants are cleaned and looked after like a natural tooth
- Resistance and lifespan
- Alternative treatments – if something did go wrong with the dental implant, there are other alternative treatments options available
- Surgical procedure – surgery is required to place a dental implant and it is desirable that you are in good overall health
- If you are at a higher risk of experiencing gum disease, dental implants may not be recommended
- Procedure is spread over several months to ensure that your body accepts the titanium implant, and the bone grows around the gum
- Procedure may be more expensive that other tooth replacement options as various items used are costly
- Requires a high level of oral hygiene to prevent any gum problems happening around the implant
- Dental suitability – not all cases are suitable for a dental implant
Are you interested in replacing a missing tooth? To discuss which tooth replacement options are suitable for you, please contact our team at Beachside Complete Dental Care. Your individual treatment plan will be tailored to your personal needs and goals. We look forward to hearing from you!
NOTE: All minor and major dental procedures and treatments have their risks and benefits. Please seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified healthcare professional