Every tooth counts! Missing teeth can influence your general health, appearance and self-esteem. When you lose teeth the jaw-bone shrinks and gums recede. This can weaken the neighbouring teeth, causing them to drift. Imagine pulling a book out of a bookshelf, the books either side tilt and fall into the gap, it’s the same with your teeth when you have one removed. When several teeth are lost, your speech and chewing ability are affected. The lack of support from missing teeth and a shrinking jaw-bone can cause your cheeks to become hollow and saggy, making you look older.
So what are your options?
Implants can be used to replace a single tooth, several teeth or secure a full denture. An implant is a titanium screw surgically placed in the jaw-bone. Dental implants are the most similar option to a natural tooth and can also help prevent the jaw-bone from shrinking. Another advantage is that a tooth can be replaced without involving the neighouring teeth. Successful implants that are properly maintained are designed to last for the rest of your life.
Removable Full or Partial Dentures
Dentures can be used to replace several or all teeth. Dentures sit over the gums and fit around any existing teeth. Dentures can be difficult to get used to and may require several follow up visits to adjust the fit. They are removable and are designed to be taken out at nighttime. Dentures are generally a cheaper option but over time the cost of maintenance and replacement can accumulate.
A bridge consists of a fabricated tooth (called a pontic) that fills the space of a missing tooth. It is anchored in place by crowns (or caps) placed on the teeth on either side of the gap. This means that a fixed bridge requires the neighbouring teeth to be prepared for a crown and there is a risk of problems with these teeth in the future. A bridge can last a long time but requires extra care and maintenance. Repairing or replacing a bridge can become more costly over time.