We will do our upmost to save teeth but sometimes, despite our best efforts, they may need to be removed. If you need to lose a tooth or perhaps are already missing teeth, it is good to know there are several choices to replace the missing teeth.
Dental implants are perhaps considered the gold standard for replacement, allowing the closest to a real tooth.
Not every situation is suitable for a dental implant, firstly a full assessment of your bone and supporting tissues needs to be undertaken. Once decided upon, an implant is placed into the bone, under your gum and left for a few month to integrate into the bone. After a period of time the implant is uncovered and then restored with a crown or a bride n the same way as a tooth root might be.
Implants can be used to restore a single missing tooth or multiple teeth where they may be used to support a dental bridge type structure. Dental implants can also be used with full dentures to aid retention and be able to ‘click’ into place.
Dentures are a way of replacing anything from one missing tooth to a full arch of missing teeth. They can be used as a permanent replacement or an interim replacement before dental bridges are constructed or dental implants are restored.
Dentures can be made of acrylic, acrylic plus cobalt chrome or newer flexible materials such as Valplast.
They still have their place in dentistry especially when a lot of the supporting bone structure has been lost. Dentures can also replace that supporting tissue, helping to fill out the lips and cheeks and allowing a more youthful appearance.
If you struggle to keep a denture in place because of lack of support, then you may also be able to have a dental implant retained denture. These work particularly well for a full acrh denture with two small implants placed which allow the denture to ‘click’ into position.
Another way to replace missing teeth is to use a dental bridge. We usually utilise one of two types of bridges
A fixed fixed bridge usually spans a space of one or two teeth with the teeth either side of the gap involved in the bridge structure. These teeth are prepared as for a crown with moulds being taken and sent to our dental technician. In the laboratory they will then construct the bridge structure that will be cemented into place at a second appointment. These are strong structures but we would only suggest a bridge like this if the teeth either side of the gap are already crowned or require crowning.
If the teeth either side of the gap are untouched, it is usual to consider a Maryland or adhesive bridge. These encompass the ideals of Minimally Invasive Dentistry thus maximising healthy tooth tissues and therefore lifespan of the tooth.
If a bridge is required, our dental team will discuss all the possibilities with you and explain the process.