Teeth replacement- what are my options?

Teeth replacement- what are my options?

Tolerating spaces created by missing teeth is a thing of the past. Leaving spaces can lead to future problems including tilting of the teeth behind the gap, over-eruption of the tooth opposite, trouble chewing and aesthetic concerns. With modern dentistry and advancements in technology there are several options for a patient to replace lost teeth.

Dental implants


You may have heard about dental implants before. These are titanium screws surgically placed in the jawbone that become an artificial tooth root anchored in the bone. The gums are then stitched around it to allow healing and integration of the screw, which usually takes 3-6 months. Then once fully integrated and anchored into the bone, a dental crown is attached. Implants need enough jaw bone to be placed in. If a patient has lost a tooth a long time ago the jaw bone can be absorbed by the body which then requires a bone graft before the implant is placed. Whatever the process to get there, the result is the closest thing you can get to a real tooth. Aesthetically these implants are undetectable.

Teeth replacement- what are my options?

Advantages

  • Can be cleaned just like a normal tooth
  • Aesthetically the same as a natural tooth
  • Extremely high long-term success rate

Disadvantages

  • Costly
  • Patient needs to be in good oral health to receive a dental implant to ensure highest likelihood of success
  • A lengthy process that can go over months (this can be seen as a plus in terms of spreading out the cost of the implant)

Bridges


A bridge is where the two teeth bordering the space of the missing tooth are prepared for crowns (capped) and a 3 unit structure is made consisting of crowns on each end with a synthetic tooth (pontic) in the middle where the space is. Sometimes multiple teeth can be replaced this way, with multiple pontics sitting between the 2 crowns. This is a good choice for someone who already needs restorative work on the adjacent teeth (it can be a two-in-one treatment scenario). It may also be a good option for someone who is not a candidate for dental implants.

Teeth replacement- what are my options?

Advantages

  • Can restore adjacent teeth as part of the process
  • No dental surgery needed
  • Can be finished in one visit (if CEREC is used)

Disadvantages

  • If adjacent teeth are healthy, placing a cap on them means removing some healthy tooth structure which can weaken those teeth
  • Bridges require cleaning between the pontic and gum, which usually involves threading of floss here. This can be a deterrent for patients who don’t want to add to their hygiene regime


Partial or full dentures

A denture is a plate with acrylic teeth placed on them to replace missing teeth. A full denture is for a patient that has no natural teeth on an arch, whereas a partial denture fits around the existing natural teeth, usually with specialised hook retainers. Partial dentures always have an underlying framework, onto which acrylic teeth, matched to your particular shade, are added. The framework can either be made of a strong, thin cobalt chromium material or a weaker acrylic material. Because the material is weaker, acrylic dentures need to be thicker and are thus generally less comfortable. Dentures are a good option for someone who has lost many or all of their teeth, as it allows you to replace multiple teeth with a single treatment.

Teeth replacement- what are my options?

Advantages

  • The most cost-effective option to replace many missing teeth in the one go
  • No drilling or surgery needed
  • Less health prerequisites required compared with dental implants
  • Great as an interim solution, for example if a front tooth needs to be replaced (moulds can be taken before the tooth is removed, allowing you to have the tooth replaced immediately after the extraction) or in the 3 months between surgical implant placement and the fitting of the new crown

Disadvantages

  • With our natural supporting structures constantly remodelling, dentures occasionally need to be modified or replaced
  • Fungal infections can develop when dentures are not worn or stored correctly
  • Not as aesthetically pleasing as dental implants or bridges
  • Not a fixed solution, therefore they need to be removed when sleeping
  • Need to be cleaned daily

Which option is best for me?


The first step in deciding on the best tooth replacement option for you is to discuss with your dentist. At Crows Nest Dentists, our dentists are experienced in dental implants, bridge work and dentures and can help you explore your options and carry out the treatment that works best for you. Don’t put up with missing spaces any longer. Restore function and aesthetics by booking in a consultation at Crows Nest Dentists!