Why should you replace missing teeth? Your appearance is one reason. Another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can mean greater strain on the teeth at either side.
A gap can also mean your ‘bite’ is affected, because the teeth next to the space can lean into the gap and alter the way the upper and lower teeth bite together.
This can then lead to food getting packed into the gap, which causes both decay and gum disease.
Losing your teeth is not the end of the story for your mouth. There are lots of alternatives available for replacing missing teeth. These can be provided to:
A bridge is an artificial tooth retained by attaching to neighbouring teeth in the arch. This keeps the amount of components in the mouth to a minimum, and means that the false tooth is permanently stuck in place. There are two basic groups of bridges:
With an adhesive bridge, the false tooth is retained with a ‘wing’ of metal that sits on the back of one or more teeth.
With a conventional bridge, the false tooth is retained by a ‘crown’ which fully covers the adjacent teeth.
Conventional bridges require much more reduction of the tooth, however this does give greater strength to the bridge allowing longer gaps to be filled or more heavily restored teeth to be used to retain the bridge. However this reduction may in time weaken a tooth. There are still limits to the gaps these bridges can fill so it will not be possible to provide a bridge in every case.
More about bridges »
Teeth can be replaced using a removable appliance. This means full or partialdentures. A full denture is the term for a plate that replaces the teeth in an entire jaw, either upper or lower. A partial denture is a part-plate, used to replace only those teeth which are missing in a jaw.. Many people are concerned about having an object in their mouth that is not fixed in place, however modern material and techniques mean that most people find wearing dentures very comfortable. Partial dentures can be made with minimal components in the mouth making the denture difficult to see and easy to wear.
Partial dentures do have advantages over fixed replacements.
More about dentures »
An implant is a ‘screw’ used to replace the root of a missing tooth. This will then allow a single or multiple crowns to be placed to fill the gap.
The biggest advantage of implants is that the false tooth is retained on an artificial root, meaning that there is no damage to the surrounding teeth.
With care, an implant can last a lifetime.
Unfortunately, implants are not available on the NHS. However, if you would like to consider implant replacement of teeth, a referral can be arranged to a specialist in the area.
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