Filling the gap
A missing tooth can be most unpleasant, for your smile and for chewing, eating and talking. Today there are many options available to fill the gaps – Implants, Bridges, Dentures. Your dentist can explain to you which is best for the space in your mouth and explain the advantages and disadvantages. The right choice for you will depend on:
- The space – how big and where?
- How many teeth are missing?
- Front or back of the mouth?
- State of remaining teeth?
- Your bite – is it heavy?
- Cost factors
For single or many missing teeth.
What is an implant?
A lightweight metal device (titanium post). It is placed in the bone under the gum. After 6-9 months the bone has bonded around the post and the crown or dentures are then attached.
How is it done?
It takes very careful planning and usually two or more dentists are involved – one to put the implant in the bone (usually a specialist) and one to put on the crowns.
Very natural, doesn’t involve other teeth, looks and feels fixed in the mouth. They give excellent support to dentures as well as crowns. Good long term results.
Several stages of treatment, some surgical work needed.
Costs: An implant is more expensive than other options. By restoring your smile and full working function of your mouth, the cost is more than justified.
Just like your own teeth implants need regular care and maintenance by you with brushes and floss. Regular follow up is also required.
The bridge uses teeth on either side of the gap to ‘hold’ the replacement tooth in position.
Teeth on either side of the space are shaped to a core, just like a crown, sometimes they need to be built up. A mould impression is taken and the bridge is made in a laboratory. Temporary covers are placed. The bridge is fitted carefully and cemented in place.
Porcelain and metal depending on where in the mouth and how many teeth are involved.
Strong natural feel, not removable – fixed. Appearance and function restored, long-term treatment, maintains the other teeth in position stops drifting and eruption.
Complex procedure involving preparation of other supporting teeth, requires a minimum of two visits.
A bridge is usually more costly than a denture, Costs vary with time, and numbers of teeth involved.
Special brushes and floss are needed. Regular hygiene visits.
Missing tooth supported by metal wings that are cemented (bonded) onto adjacent teeth. It needs very careful planning and is only useful in areas of low stress. BUT, they might be right for you, ‘ask your dentist’. We are particularly pleased with the Resin Fibre Composite Bridge technique. Low cost, non invasive one visit procedure.
Little tooth preparation, fixed – not removable, moderate costs, excellent appearance.
It cannot be used in heavy bite situations; it can be dislodged with a knock or as teeth shift.
THE DENTURE – PARTIALS
The oldest and the cheapest way of replacing teeth. ‘Partial’ denture means not all teeth are replaced – just some. There are two main types of denture, plastic and precision metal.
An all-plastic construction but often with wire clasps to hold it in place. The plastic denture rests on the gums.
Lowest cost option, simple procedure, no adjustment of other teeth.
Removable, an ‘extra’ object in the mouth, take out to clean, often loose and may get food under it, can cause wear on adjacent teeth and ‘push’ back the gums. This is short or medium term option, often temporary while bridges or implants are made.
Precision Metal Denture
A cast metal (chromium cobalt) construction with a plastic support on the gums.
Moderate cost, little tooth preparation (only for rest and clasps), stays in place and less ‘bulky’ than plastic. Stronger and cleaner.
Removable, take out to clean, needs regular maintenance. This is medium or long term treatment option.