Replacing Missing Teeth
Your teeth are designed to work together to help you chew, speak and smile. When one or more of these teeth are missing, it can be very difficult to do those things. When your back teeth are missing, often teeth will start to drift and shift and affect the way your teeth come together. This will force you to compensate and adjust the way you bite which will have a lot of other consequences. Some examples are uneven wear of other teeth, and TMJ disorder.
Fortunately, missing teeth can be replaced. The following are three options for replacement. Not all options are right for everyone but we would help you decide which option suits you best.
Dental implants are a great option to replace a single missing tooth, multiple missing teeth or support a full denture. A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically placed in the jaw which functions as an artificial tooth root to anchor the replacement tooth. Most of our patients find implants a great option replacement solution. Sometimes, implant might not be an option for everyone because there is a surgical component. Patients should be in general good health; patients must also have good adjacent bone to support the implant or will need a separate procedure to “build up” bone in the area of placement.
Advantages of Dental Implants:
- Most similar to natural teeth
- May help prevent future bone loss
- Does not affect adjacent teeth
- Cleaning is like your own teeth
- Require surgery
- Take longer time to complete the replacement process to healing time
- Initial cost might be higher
Another popular procedure for replacing missing teeth is a fixed bridge. Like the word indicates, fixed bridge will require adjacent teeth to the missing teeth to be ground down. On the first visit, we will prepare the anchor teeth, take an impression and place a temporary bridge. The impression will be sent to the laboratory to have the bridge fabricated. This process usually takes 2 weeks. At the second appointment, the temporary bridge will be removed and the permanent bridge is cemented on.
Advantages of Fixed Bridge:
- Look and feel like natural teeth
- Stayed on permanently and does not come out
- You can get your smile back in 2 weeks
Disadvantages of Fixed Bridge
- Affect adjacent, anchored teeth
- Harder to clean under the bridge, therefore requires extra effort to keep bridge cleaned
- Because the bridge requires adjacent teeth for anchorage, the bridge might be compromised if the adjacent anchored teeth develop problems (decay, infections) in the future
A partial denture is a removable appliance that is effective to replace multiple missing teeth. The Denture is made of acrylic material and the replacement teeth are fixed to the gum colour acrylic.
Advantages of Partial Denture:
- Removable for easy cleaning
- Cost effective to replace multiple missing teeth
- No surgery
Disadvantages of Partial Denture:
- Less stable than other options
- Not as comfortable to wear
- A Denture might cause future bone loss, therefore denture can become loose overtime and have to be re-aligned
I would be happy to help you.
Dr. Thelam Nguyen DDS, FICOI