Missing teeth can make you self conscious and create difficulty when eating. If you try to hide a gap when smiling or laughing you should consider having the tooth replaced. If you are unable to chew the foods you love because of a gap, you are able to replace the missing teeth and regain that lost chewing performance. There are several ways to replace a missing tooth.
A removable plastic partial denture allows teeth to be replaced quickly (sometimes on the day of removal). Though usually made as a temporary measure until another option is completed, a plastic partial denture in some cases can be left as the long term solution. They are economical, and can look great but are quite bulky in your mouth and will result in all the forces of chewing being placed on the gums.
A removable metal framed partial denture uses a custom made metal substructure involving clasps that stabilise the denture and thin strips hidden in the roof of your mouth or behind your teeth to connect the parts. Where needed pink plastic is added to replace gum. This option has considerably less bulk, and less surface coverage than the ‘all plastic’ option. The clasps make the denture more stable and allow the chewing forces to be put on the remaining teeth, not the gums. The teeth that support and retain the metal partial denture must be in good condition and may require some work to make them suitable for the task. The metal clasps can be visible on some teeth.
A fixed bridge is an artificial tooth attached to the teeth either side of the gap and is ideal for a long term solution that is not removable. A bridge often consists of crowns on the supporting teeth connected by the artificial tooth. A bridge may allow the replacement of more than one adjacent tooth as long as the supporting teeth at each end are strong enough. In some situations, a single missing tooth may be supported by only one other tooth, or the replacement tooth may be able to be glued to the back of the supporting tooth via a small metal 'wing' rather than a full crown. The majority of bridges are made of porcelain with or without a hidden metal substructure. A bridge is a very natural looking way to replace a missing tooth, and may be the treatment of choice in many situations especially if the supporting teeth are in need of crowns for other reasons. If the supporting teeth are in excellent condition, with no previous fillings, a bridge may require excessive cutting of healthy tooth structure and is not recommended.
Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement. Whether used to replace a single tooth, support a five tooth bridge on three implants, a full arch on eight implants, or to stabilise a loose full denture, dental implants are a secure long lasting solution to the replacement of missing teeth. More…..