Why Replace Missing Teeth?
When teeth are missing, it can affect the way the rest of your teeth bite together. Your remaining teeth may tilt and drift into the gaps and food can get trapped in the spaces, increasing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. When many teeth are missing, your facial muscles can become saggy, affecting your speech and appearance.
Replacement teeth are made to match the colour of your natural teeth as closely as possible.
How Can I Replace My Missing Teeth?
There are several different treatment options available.
• Dentures: These are removable plastic or metal frameworks carrying false teeth.
• Bridges: These are false teeth fixed onto adjacent natural teeth.
• Dental implants : These are metal 'pegs' placed in your jawbone. Dentures or bridges are clipped or screwed on top of dental implants.
The most appropriate treatment will depend on the number of teeth that are missing, where they are in your mouth and the condition of any remaining teeth.
A partial denture can be used to replace one or more missing teeth. A partial denture is a framework (plate) with a number of false teeth on it.
There are different types of partial dentures, but they commonly include a metal and/or plastic plate with plastic or porcelain false teeth
Alternatively, flexible (or soft) partial dentures may also be fabricated. These adapt around the shape of your teeth and gums and can be used when it’s difficult or impossible to fit a plastic or metal denture.
The advantages of the removable partial denture appliance are :
• It is a more economical way to replace missing teeth than a fixed bridge.
• Also, you can replace multiple teeth with one appliance. If the span of missing teeth is three or more, or if there are not solid teeth on both sides of the missing teeth, a fixed bridge may not work.
The disadvantages are that
• It may not be as esthetic as a bridge.
• Clasps will be required to retain the removable partial, and it may not be possible or practical to entirely conceal those (though that problem can be avoided often with a "precision attachment" partial).
• Also, there may be some discomfort with wearing removable hardware in your mouth, and it is not as stable as a bridge.
Full (or complete) dentures are needed when you have no teeth left in your upper or lower jaw. They are usually made of a plastic plate with plastic teeth.
Full upper dentures cover the roof of your mouth (palate). A very thin layer of saliva between your palate and the denture creates suction, which keeps it firmly in position. Your facial muscles and tongue also help to keep it in place.
Full lower dentures are often more difficult to keep in place because the floor of your mouth moves a lot, and the ridge where your teeth used to be shrinks with age.
However, good dentures should fit your mouth exactly so you shouldn’t need to use denture adhesive cream (fixative).
If only one or two teeth are missing, your dentist may recommend a bridge. He or she will attach a false tooth (or teeth) to your natural teeth on either side or occasionally on only one side of the gap.
Bridges are made of porcelain and/or metal. There are many bridge designs. The natural teeth on either side of the space are specially prepared for the crowns to fit on top. These crowns are permanently attached to a false tooth in the centre.
Bridges are cemented in place, so you can’t remove them for cleaning. To keep your natural teeth healthy, you should clean the gap under a bridge with a special dental floss. Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you how to floss under your bridge. On average, bridges last between five and 10 years.
The advantages of a bridge are:
• It is fixed and stable,
• Feels like your own teeth.
• In most cases it can be made to look just like you never had a tooth missing.
The disadvantage is that you have to treat two teeth besides the one that was extracted - these teeth may otherwise be perfectly sound with nothing wrong.
A dental implant is an artificial "root" that is placed in your jawbone (after a tooth extraction ) to hold a false tooth (or teeth) in place and then a tooth is placed on it. Biologically, it is like placing an entirely new artificial tooth in your mouth. Dentures and bridges that are supported by successful implants tend to be very secure.
The advantages of an implant are:
• No teeth on either side have to be prepared for crowns, so there is no grinding on "good teeth" - you just fix the missing tooth
• Implants can also span the space of multiple missing teeth. There is no limit to the span they can cover, as long as the patient's health is good and there is healthy and adequate bone to support the implant.
• An implant also is fixed and feels just like your own teeth.
if you have missing multiple teeth or all your teeth, there is a strong advantage to dental implants in that they will preserve the jawbone. Sometimes dentists don't explain the negative long-term consequences of missing teeth, which are that your jaw gradually shrinks until you can't wear any removable appliance.
Article Topic : Missing Teeth
Article Compiled By :
Dr. Eisha Kathuria
Consultant Dental Surgeon & Prosthodontist.
Ex. Resident UCMS & G.T.B Hospital, Delhi.
DR. KATHURIA'S DENTAL SPECIALITIES (9654808686)
AC-53, Tagore Garden, Rajouri Garden, West Delhi