Thanks to advances in modern dentistry, patients with missing teeth have more tooth replacement options today than ever before. These include dental implants, all-on-four dentures supported by implants, a fixed bridge supported by implants, a fixed bridge supported by the teeth, a partial denture that can be removed, complete dentures that can be removed, a flipper, or a resin-bonded bridge.
The type of tooth replacement you opt for will depend on your individual circumstances, your budget and the advice of your dental practitioner.
Why You Can’t Do Nothing
Before we jump into the different tooth replacement options you have available, let’s first consider why you can’t just ignore missing teeth.
Missing teeth should be replaced because otherwise the teeth growing around it are very likely to shift around, and this will change your bite.
The other major reason you should replace missing teeth is because you run the risk of losing bone density if you don’t. Ideally, we should chew on both sides of the mouth in order to preserve healthy and strong jaws. With that said, let’s take a look at the most common tooth replacement options.
While bridges have been a popular tooth loss solution for a number of years, there are several disadvantages to fixed bridges. The first of which is that the surrounding teeth need to be ground down in order to fix the bridge in your mouth. So, if you are replacing one lost teeth, you actually compromise two others in order to make space for the bridge.
The other less-than-ideal aspect to fixed bridges is the difficulty in cleaning it properly. Getting under and around it in order to clean it is very difficult.
Resin bonded bridges offer a more favourable alternative because they do not require the surrounding teeth to be ground down. The dentist builds the bridge onto the surrounding teeth, using resin to close the gap.
Removable bridges still present as the easiest to clean because they can be taken out.
Tooth implants have become increasingly popular over the years as they provide a permanent means by which to replace missing teeth. Due to the fact that they anchor into your jaw, they address the issue of missing roots. With implants, your chewing action activates or stimulates the jaw bone, preventing further bone loss.
When it comes to success rates, implants rate is the highest. They require minimal maintenance and are very comfortable. They do not compromise your adjacent teeth and are the closest alternative to your natural teeth.
Of course, not everyone is eligible for implants and patients who do not have sufficient bone will need to have a bone graft done.
All-On-Four Dentures Supported By Implants
Patients who have lost multiple teeth may benefit from a solution where a denture is supported in place using just four implants. This presents a more affordable option than individual dental implants that is also stronger than dentures.
Fixed Bridge Supported By Implants
With a fixed bridge that is supported by implants, you do not require an implant for every missing tooth, and you can replace a full arch of teeth. This tooth replacement option can be screwed or cemented into position and doesn’t require the adjacent teeth to be ground down.
Of course, this option only really works when the missing teeth are next to each other. A fixed bridge supported by implants is not removable and you will be able to eat all the foods you used to enjoy, without food restrictions.
Fixed Bridge Supported By Your Teeth
A fixed bridge supported by your teeth is a quite common tooth replacement option when only one tooth is missing. Two crowns are created on either side of a replacement tooth. The crowns are fixed onto your remaining teeth, while the one in the middle becomes the replacement tooth.
A fixed bridge looks and feels very much like your natural teeth, and is also of relatively low risk because no surgery is involved. In terms of disadvantages though the adjacent teeth do need to be ground down to create a support structure for your bridge. The replacement tooth also does not stimulate your jaw bone.
Removable partial dentures can replace one or more missing teeth, and they do not have to be adjacent to each other.
Removable complete dentures sit on top of your gums and can be made to look quite natural, however they do move around and shift in shape over time. They may also speed up bone loss because of the pressure they exert on your gums and jaw.
Still have questions about the different tooth replacement options available? Contact us for a friendly chat: (02) 8074 3849 .