Options for replacement of a missing tooth.
The questions that we ask our patients who have a missing tooth at Gentle Dental are
Will you miss the tooth/teeth in terms of
- Function (ie chewing)
- Aesthetics (is it a front tooth, is it in the smile line)
A lot of people find that they do not miss a tooth and it doesn’t affect any of the aforementioned factors.
The easiest and cheapest option is always to leave a space and not replace a missing tooth.
Following removal of a tooth, if the space is left unfilled the effect can be very damaging on the surrounding teeth. Firstly, there is extra force on the remaining teeth as they bear the chewing load with less surrounding teeth. And secondly, the teeth begin to move into the space left behind and this change in position leads to unfavourable forces on these teeth. Both of these factors can increase the risk of decay and fracture in the remaining teeth. If surrounding teeth have leant into the gap then this can also make it difficult to restore the space with a tooth later on.
So how can you replace a missing tooth?
Generally speaking there are 3 options to replace a missing tooth or teeth.
The best option is a dental implant. This is the most natural feeling of all of the replacement options. A titanium screw is placed where the tooth root once was, and a ceramic dental crown is then anchored to that to replace the crown of the tooth. A benefit of implants is that there is no destruction of the teeth either side. Our gentle dentists are experienced in placing the crown on top of the implant. Like with anything good, this process does take more time and money than the others.
The second is a bridge, which is a fixed piece of ceramic/porcelain that is anchored to the teeth either side of the gap. To allow for this the teeth are reduced so that they can be capped and the bridge is cemented in place. This type of restoration is generally preferred to a removable denture as it stays in place and feels more like a natural tooth, however it is important to consider the loss of healthy tooth structure that comes with preparation of the teeth either side. Our dentists assess whether the adjacent teeth are good candidates for supporting a bridge and will only place them where appropriate. To make a bridge usually takes 3 weeks from preparation appointment to cementing it in.
The third option is a removable denture. This is a good option for temporary replacement of the tooth as it can be done immediately. It can also be a good value permanent option for replacing multiple missing teeth. Partial dentures come in options of acrylic or a metal chrome cobalt denture.
If you have a tooth gap which you’d like replaced, book in to see one of our Gentle Dentists for an examination and consult where they will explain in depth and be able to provide you a quote for all your options.