Options to replace a missing tooth
Unfortunately, there comes a time for most people when they will have one or several teeth that are no longer restorable and will therefore need to be extracted. This may be because of general wear and tear or an accident. However, the result will be the same, a gap where the tooth once was!
In order to restore your smile to its former glory there are a number of different treatment options available.
Leave the gap
If the tooth to be extracted is not visible when you smile and talk and does not affect your bite, it may be possible to leave the gap. The dentist will need to monitor the teeth on either side of the gap each time that you attend for your routine appointments to ensure that they do not drift or twist into the space causing problems with your bite.
A bridge is constructed by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap. These are then used to support a false tooth which will sit in the space of the missing tooth. The bridge will match closely the natural colour of your teeth and so should be indistinguishable once in place. The disadvantage of a bridge is that it requires the healthy teeth on either side of the gap to be cut down to support crowns. This may mean that in the long term if either of the teeth supporting the bridge decay or become damaged the bridge will fail.
Dentures provide a useful treatment option if you have several gaps that need to be filled. Dentures can be made to replace one or many teeth spread across your upper or lower jaw. Dentures can be fitted immediately following an extraction so there is no need to worry about being seen with a missing tooth. Dentures also allow for further teeth to be added in the future, should the need arise. Dentures can be made from acrylic (plastic) or chrome (metal). Teeth are then added to the base to match the colour of your natural smile, so they will be indistinguishable from your natural teeth once in place. Overtime as your gums shrink it may be necessary to reline or remake your dentures to ensure that they continue to fit comfortably.
Implants are fast becoming the most popular way to replace a missing tooth. Implants have the advantage that they are self-supporting so do not damage the teeth surrounding the gap. Implants can also help to stabilise bone loss in your jaw which can occur when a tooth is extracted and have even been shown to help promote healthy bone growth, improving the strength and health of your jaw. The implant is placed under local anaesthetic and then left for 3-4 months to heal, at which time it can be used to support a crown, bridge or denture depending on the number of teeth to be replaced. Although, initially expensive, once in place and if cared for properly an implant should last as long as your natural teeth.
With so many options to replace your missing tooth you may feel baffled, but the team at Centre are all trained to advise and offer the best possible solutions based on each individual case they see. Call the surgery today on 01268 742 333 to book your appointment.