Closing The Gaps: Missing Teeth Solutions

Closing The Gaps: Missing Teeth Solutions

Unfortunately, many of us will lose a tooth in our lifetime and when that time comes it can be confusing with so many options for filling a gap. So, how do you decide which option is best for you?

Your dentist will have discussed what is possible in your situation, but you may still have some questions or uncertainties as to what is right for you. There are certain things you can think about when deciding – costs, longevity, and strength of the replacement tooth.

So, what options might you have?

You could leave it alone and live with the gap. If the missing tooth is not causing any problems when you are chewing and isn’t noticeable whilst you are talking or smiling, this might be the best option for you…your dentist will assess whether other teeth may be affected and discuss this with you and he or she will let you know if there is a strong reason to fill the gap.

A bridge may be an option – where teeth either side of the gap are strong and healthy these can be prepped, and a lab-built prosthesis is made to fit and match the colour of your teeth. Generally, bridges last between 5 and 15 years but they are dependent on the health of the supporting teeth.

A denture – if you have either a single missing tooth or several, a partial denture may be an option. They come in different materials (chrome or acrylic) and are custom made to match your natural tooth colour. Chrome dentures are fastened to your teeth with metal clasps. Dentures tend to last around 5-7 years.

Implants are a longer lasting solution – they can last up to 20 years or more. Implants can support one or more false teeth using a titanium screw placed into your jaw. Before any treatment it is essential that you have a full assessment to check for suitability (that your mouth is healthy enough and that you have enough bone in your jaw to insert the screw). There are a couple of factors which may stop you from having an implant – if you are a smoker or if you have gum disease then this may make you unsuitable candidate for implants.

What else do I need to consider?

Cost is an important factor!

At a quick glance, bridges and dentures appear cheaper but implants last longer therefore adding up replacement costs over a lifetime may make implants a better option for you.

Strength of the prosthesis

Dentures are reasonably strong whilst in the mouth however accidents can happen when you remove them for cleaning. We always recommend cleaning dentures over a bowl of water or a folded towel – if you do drop them then they will at least have a soft landing. We have seen other accidents occur with dentures – it’s not unknown for a dog to make off with a denture left bedside and it becomes a mangled mess!
Bridges themselves are strong but they are reliant on the teeth supporting them – if they fail or have an issue, this may affect the stability of the bridge.
Implants are very strong – the screw is as strong or stronger than natural tooth roots but bear in mind that the “false tooth” on top will need replacing in the long-term.

Longevity

Implants are generally the longest lasting solution.

Appointment time and how much dental work is required?

Having dentures made is the least invasive of the treatments – you will need to attend several times to make and refine them for a comfortable fit.

Bridges require the healthy teeth either side of the gap to be prepped, removing a layer of enamel to allow a good fit. Generally, you will need two appointments a couple of weeks apart – the first to scan your mouth (or if the practices don’t have a digital scanner, they will take an impression) and most of the work is done at this time to prep the surrounding teeth and prepare the area. The second is a shorter appointment required to fit the bridge.

Implants require an assessment visit (unless it is your own dentist who shall be fitting the implant rather than a specialist). The implant will then be fitted and three to four months later a third appointment is needed where the final restoration (false tooth) is placed. This time delay is needed for everything to heal around the screw.

So, there are lots of things to consider but we hope that this will have given you further insight into options available. We really recommend that you discuss things fully with your dentist and feel free to ask as many questions as you want!

If you’d like to know more about any of these options then please feel free to give us a call on 01205 352892 and speak to one of our knowledgeable team.

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