Tooth loss can occur for numerous reasons including decay, infection and injury and can cause subsequent future problems, such as bone deterioration, tooth drift and difficulty eating and speaking.
The psychological effects of tooth loss must also be taken into consideration, with many who have lost a tooth or several teeth suffering a decline in self-confidence and self-esteem.
For these reasons alone tooth restoration is a good idea, but what options are actually available to replace missing teeth and which are best suited to your needs?
Dentures have been used for years to replace missing teeth and due to these numerous years of advancement and development modern day dentures are incredibly lifelike and functional. Single, several and a complete set of teeth can all be restore with dentures, which are made tailored to your specific needs, condition and financial situation.
Dentures are one of the simplest ways to replace your missing teeth, requiring no invasive treatments or procedures. An impression on your mouth is all that is needed to create your personalised set of dentures, which can be made of porcelain, ceramic or resin. Dentures are also one of the cheapest options for replacing missing teeth and are ideal for those who are on a budget but are still looking for an effective way to restore their smile.
Dentures are held in place by the mouth’s own natural suction or with dental adhesives, but often neither of these methods can properly secure dentures in place. This looseness can affect the way you speak, the foods you eat and often cause sores to develop in the mouth. As you age your jawbone shrinks, but this process is often exacerbated by the use of dentures. For this reason you will more than likely need more than one set of dentures, which can add up to a higher total cost.
The usual age of wear for a denture is 10 to 15 years.
Bridges are ideal for replacing one or several missing teeth, using your natural teeth or crowns to keep them in place. Bridges come in several different forms including; Traditional bridges (which use crowns on teeth opposing the gap to anchor it into place) Cantilever bridges (which use one tooth to support a restoration) and Maryland bridges (which are ideal for the front teeth and use metal bands to attach to opposing healthy teeth). Bridges can be made from porcelain, gold and other metals and are crafted to mimic the appearance and colour of your other teeth.
Bridges are highly effective at restoring tooth gaps and as they are either attached to the surrounding teeth or held in place with thin bands they feel and look very natural in your mouth. Bridges stop the tooth drift that can occur when gaps are left unfilled and can restore a smile without anyone knowing you are wearing a false tooth.
With bridges that require the aid of surrounding teeth some etching work may be required upon the natural teeth. This can weaken the teeth that are treated, posing potential dental health risks in later life, which also makes bridges that continually fall out difficult to replace, as strong surrounding teeth are needed to support the bridge.
A good bridge can last a wearer between 10-15 years.
Dental implants are one of the latest innovations in restorative dentistry and not only replace the missing tooth, but also the missing tooth root. Dental implants can be used to provide further stability to traditional dental prosthetics like crowns, dentures and bridges and can replace single, several or all missing teeth.
The dental implant procedure involves drilling into the jawbone and inserting a dental implant. This is then left to heal (in the case of traditional dental implants) for between 3-6 months and is then fitted with an abutment and after that a dental prosthetic.
Dental implants provided an added level of stability, which you don’t find with dentures or bridges alone. Replacing the tooth root not only secures the new teeth in place, it also prevents bone deterioration and keeps the jaw strong and healthy. Dental implants are also one of the mot lifelike restoration options and not only look natural but function naturally, meaning you do not need to change your diet to meet the new demands of your teeth as you do with dentures.
Dental implants are the most expensive choice for those looking to restore their smiles. They also require a certain level of invasive treatment and a recovery period, which you do not have with bridges and dentures and for those without the necessary bone density painful bone grafting procedure may be required before you can have the treatment.
If dental implants are maintained properly you can expect a lifetime of use.