Nobody wants to be without a tooth for too long. A big gap in your mouth can not only affect your confidence, but you run a greater risk of getting gum disease too.
A missing tooth can also be caused by gum disease in the first place as well as damage, serious tooth decay, or a genetic condition, and if the gap is left empty, can lead to numerous problems too. Not only can it drastically alter the appearance of your smile, but it can also adversely impact the arrangement of your teeth over time and trigger challenges in the future if it isn’t replaced. Even if just a single tooth is lost, it can still have a detrimental impact on oral health and confidence.
Plus, missing teeth can also affect your speech, chewing ability, jawbone integrity, and your remaining teeth may shift into the empty spaces. Subsequently, replacing missing teeth is essential and should be done as quick as possible. We take a closer look at the options available for filling those gaps…
Options for replacing missing teeth
There are a several excellent options to replace missing teeth and help avoid the many potential problems listed above.
Dental implants are a common method used for tooth replacement and can be very reliable. This type of tooth replacement looks and feels like a real tooth, and is potentially a permanent solution, if maintained well. The process of getting a dental implant starts with your tooth’s root being replaced with a titanium implant, so an anchor for the tooth can be placed on. Once this is in place, the implant is left to heal for a few months until it is securely fused to the jawbone. Following the healing period (which ranges from 8 weeks to 6 months), the dental crown is then placed and secured.
Dental implant pros:
- They offer natural looking and feeling teeth.
- Neighbouring teeth are not involved, and adjacent teeth remain intact.
- Can be a long-term solution (10-15 years + if well maintained).
Dental implant cons:
- They are a more costly form of tooth replacement and can range from £1500 to £2500.
- An invasive surgical procedure is required to place the implant into the jawbone.
- Treatment typically takes longer compared to bridges or dentures.
Implant supported bridge
- An implant supported bridge can be ideal if you have multiple missing teeth in a particular area. It can avoid the lengthy process of replacing each missing tooth with a dental implant, as only the tooth at either end requires implants. Meanwhile the missing teeth in the middle of either end are secured in place without the need of screws,
Implant supported bridge pros:
- Cost-effective option to replace multiple teeth.
- Can be equally as effective as having multiple dental implants.
- They offer natural looking teeth.
Implant supported bridge cons:
- The option is only useful if you have multiple missing teeth in one area.
Tooth supported bridge
- A tooth supported bridge utilises natural teeth to support the bridge, rather than relying on implants on either side. For this procedure a crown is positioned on the teeth, next to the missing teeth, and it is then cemented into place. The procedure takes place over multiple visits.
Tooth supported bridge pros:
- No invasive surgical procedure is required.
- A more cost-effective option than dental implants.
Tooth-supported bridge cons:
- Adjacent teeth must be filed down for the crown fitting and has the potential for future infection.
- Adjoining teeth may be damaged in the long run if the bridge has been fitted poorly.
- There is the potential for food debris to go underneath the bridge and become difficult to clean, leading to infection and disease risk.
Removable partial denture
- Removable partial dentures are a straightforward option to replace missing teeth. Rather than remove all teeth and have a complete denture set made, removable partial dentures are ideal to replace a limited number to teeth. They are clasped into position and are held tightly in place.
Removable partial denture pros:
- This option allows for additional teeth to be added to the original partial denture in the future, which can avoid major future financial outlay.
- The tooth replacement option is among the most inexpensive.
- Can be easy to repair or replace if required.
- The application of partial dentures is basic and only necessitates metal clasps.
Removable partial denture cons:
- There is the potential that they are initially uncomfortable and require time to get used to.
- As they are not fixed in place, there will be some movement when eating.
- They are bulkier and cover a lot more of your mouth when compared to dental implants.
- Requires thorough cleaning and maintenance, as well as removal when sleeping.
- They may not be as natural looking like dental implants due to the metal clasps.
Why not book a free virtual consultation today so we can chat through your options and get you smiling again?