A missing tooth can come about as a result of gum disease, physical damage, significant tooth decay, or a genetic condition. If not replaced, your smile may alter, and the arrangement of your teeth may be impacted over time. Losing just one single tooth can have a big bearing on your oral health and personal confidence, not to mention impacting your speech, chewing, jawbone strength, and influencing your remaining teeth. Therefore, the swift replacement of a missing tooth should be a priority to avoid these issues occurring. So, what are the options? Let’s take a look…
The good news is, there are a numerous (potential) options available to replace a missing tooth, and thus avoid the major negative consequences. Four of the most common options are detailed below:
Removable partial denture
Using a removable partial denture for tooth replacement is a straightforward option. This option does not require all teeth to be removed and instead the removable partial denture can just fill in for the missing tooth/teeth. The denture itself can be clasped into position, ensuring it is safe and secure.
Advantages of a removable partial denture:
- A major benefit of this option is that it allows for additional teeth to be added in case you have more missing teeth in future, avoiding potential major financial costs.
- This option is inexpensive compared to other solutions.
- Alterations, replacements, and repairs are inexpensive and quick to carry out.
- The procedure itself is basic and not lengthy.
Disadvantages of a removable partial denture:
- Initially, they can be uncomfortable and require a ‘setting in’ period.
- Will necessitate regular and comprehensive cleaning/maintenance and must be removed overnight.
- Can be less aesthetically pleasing than alternative options due to metal clasps.
Using a dental implant for tooth replacement is extremely common and is arguably the most reliable option. This type of tooth replacement is very realistic with regards the aesthetics and feeling and can be a lifelong solution under the right conditions. The implant procedure involves a titanium component placed into the gap to ensure an anchor is in place for the future tooth. Following this, the implant area must heal for a few months to ensure it is securely bonded with the jawbone. Finally, the dental crown is placed on this screw and securely attached.
Advantages of a dental implant:
- Can be one of the most aesthetically pleasing options in terms of look and feel.
- No adverse effects on adjacent teeth.
- If maintained, can last a very long time, normally with minimal dental intervention.
Disadvantages of a dental implant:
- The fee for an implant compared to other options is likely to be a more, in some cases costing up to £2,000 – £3000 per implant.
- Treatment is more complex as a surgical appointment is needed.
Implant supported bridge
This option is ideal if you have lost teeth in one particular area and avoids the lengthy process of having implants made for each individual tooth. Instead, only the tooth at each end of the missing teeth needs an implant, while the missing teeth in the middle are dealt with without the need of further implants.
Advantages of an implant supported bridge:
- Can be a more cost-effective option for multiple tooth replacement.
- In most scenarios it has the same effectiveness as having individual implants for each missing tooth.
Disadvantages of an implant supported bridge:
- Can only be done if there are multiple missing teeth in the same area.
- If one of the implants fails in future, the cost to replace a bridge will likely be higher compared to replacing a single crown.
Tooth supported bridge
This option requires natural teeth to support the bridge, in comparison to having an implant on either side of the missing teeth. This procedure requires a crown to be placed on the teeth which are adjacent to the missing teeth, and this is then secured into position. The procedure itself usually requires multiple dental visits.
Advantages of a tooth-supported bridge:
- It does not require any invasive surgery.
- Its quicker to complete compared to a dental implant.
Disadvantages of a tooth-supported bridge:
- It requires adjacent teeth to be filed down in order to be covered with a crown, and this can mean the potential for more long-term complications.
- Adjoining teeth can potentially be damaged over time if a bridge is fitted poorly.
- There is the possibility of food debris going under the bridge and going uncleaned, leading to a chance of deteriorating oral health and potential disease.
Still have questions? Give our team a call, we would love to help.