Missing Teeth & Implants
When a tooth is lost, it is usually best to replace it as soon as possible. This way, function can be restored as soon as possible, and unwanted complications can be avoided. These can include teeth in the opposing jaw moving into the empty space, teeth on either side of the space leaning into the empty space, or a gradual wasting away of the bone structure.
There are several options to replace a missing tooth (teeth):
1. A removable DENTURE
A denture is a removable appliance that replaces one or multiple teeth. For the most part, they replace the part of the teeth that are visible (the crowns)
- Simplest option – no surgery involved
- Least expensive option
- It’s removable
- It simply sits on the gums and it is not in fixed in the jaw (it does not stimulate the jawbone, so the jawbone starts wasting away)
- Clasps which attach to the adjacent teeth can be visible
- May hinder normal taste sensation since the acrylic of the denture may cover taste buds.
2. A BRIDGE
A single or mutiple missing teeth can be replaced by fabricating a bridge. This is done by trimming the teeth on either side of the missing tooth (around 2mm each way) until the teeth are stumps. An impression is then taken and sent off to the lab. The lab fabricates a “bridge” that is cemented on the two trimmed teeth, connecting them together, forming a “bridge” replacing the missing tooth (teeth).
- If the teeth on either side of the empty space have large fillings or root canals and need to be crowned (capped) anyway, this can be a great option because the bridge is basically two crowns that are connected to one another.
- If the teeth on either side of the space are healthy, sound tooth structure needs to be removed – we always like to conserve healthy tooth structure.
- Sometimes the nerves of the teeth we trim get inflamed and they may require a ROOT CANAL – a process that renders the tooth non-vital and more fragile.
- Bridges are usually more difficult to maintain. The number one reason bridges fail is due to this lack of maintenance (they need to be flossed underneath with a special floss threader everyday).
3. An IMPLANT
A dental Implant is made of a titanium root-shaped post that replaces a natural root. The implant is placed in the jaw bone where it is left to form an intimate connection with the surrounding bone. This usually takes between 3 to 6 months. After healing, a crown is fabricated and placed on the implant, best replicating the form and function of the natural missing tooth.
- It best reproduces what was there naturally – the implant reproduces the root and the crown the tooth crown.
- The teeth on either side of the space are not trimmed
- The implant is placed in the jawbone, hence stimulating the bone – so the bone is not lost by wasting.
- No special home cleaning techniques are needed – just regular brushing and flossing.
- It will probably last you longer than any of the other options mentioned above.
- It costs less in the long-term
- It takes more time than any of the other options mentioned above.
- It costs more in the short term
We would be more than happy to explain to you in more detail about the above options and to tell you how each option would correlate to your specific situation. We can also show you models of each option during our consultation appointment.