Missing Teeth Replacement
No matter how careful we are with our teeth, a good percentage of us are going to lose a tooth sometime in our lives. It might be as a result of gum disease, aging or an injury. Whatever the cause, it is rather embarrassing to have a missing tooth; especially if you deal with the public in your workplace. Luckily there are various options for missing tooth replacement.
Option One: Do Nothing
There is always the possibility of doing nothing about your missing tooth. You might be financially compromised and not be able to afford a replacement. Whatever the reason, it is not an option we recommend. The gap in your teeth will encourage the adjoining teeth to move to cover the gap and this can result in the integrity of your mouth being compromised. The underlying jaw bone will lose density and might eventually affect your ability to chew on that side of your mouth.
Option Two: Bridgework
There are two types of bridgework available, namely, traditional bridgework and composite bridgework.
- Traditional Bridgework: Although this has been, and still is, an acceptable option, there are a couple of considerations that you must think about. In traditional bridgework the two teeth adjoining the gap are severely stripped down to form the two anchor posts of the bridge. This obviously compromises the integrity of the two anchor teeth. Cleaning under and around a bridge is also rather difficult and this further compromises the whole structure. If problems occur in either of the two anchors, you could lose the whole bridge.
- Composite Bridgework: In this method the two adjoining teeth are not stripped down. The dentist uses composite material (similar to that used in fillings) to build a bridge and shape a tooth between and onto the two adjoining teeth. It is still difficult to clean around the bridge and the anchor teeth can still be compromised.
Option Three: Dental Implants
In this option the dentist will implant a metal post into the bottom of the gap and fuse the post with the jaw bone. Once the dentist is sure that the post has been accepted by the body, a replacement tooth is attached to the post. The big advantage of dental implants is that they feel and act like your own teeth. They are also easier to clean as it is possible to clean around the replacement tooth, as with a normal tooth.
Option Four: Dentures
Two alternatives are available with dentures; a removable partial denture, or a removable full denture (which is normally used for multiple missing teeth). Dentures are the most cost-effective option available for missing teeth replacement. Dentures can be removed and cleaned on a regular basis, but dentures tend to move around when you speak and eat. This can potentially cause embarrassment and can lead to gum pain because of the chafing caused by constant movement. Dentures do not offer support to the underlying bone structure, which can result in loss of bone density and an alteration of the basic facial structure.
With so many options available for missing tooth replacement, it is sometimes difficult to decide which option to use. A visit to your dentist will give you all the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative.