Good oral health is a sign of a healthy life. Taking care of your teeth is extremely important, or it can lead to teeth loss due to tooth decay, gum diseases, injury or a genetic condition. However, the good news is that missing teeth can be replaced through different tooth replacement options. These permanent/temporary tooth replacement options can change the whole look of your mouth and boost your confidence, helping you create a lasting impression in your professional and personal life.
But, there are pros and cons to every available treatment for teeth replacement. Thus, to find out the best way of replacing missing teeth, continue reading below.
A] What Causes Missing Teeth?
Like mentioned above, there are various reasons possible for missing teeth, including tooth decay, accidental injuries and gum diseases. Multiple missing teeth can be usually caused by inherited or systematic conditions. Ectodermal dysplasia is one of the most common genetic defects that affect teeth which can be identified early in life. Prosthodontists have the special training needed for patients with the said condition and can recommend a comprehensive treatment for missing teeth.
Many individuals are born with a condition called congenitally missing teeth that causes the affected individual to be born without certain teeth. It is a genetic condition that can be seen in many generations of a family. The upper lateral incisors, secondary premolars/bicuspids and wisdom teeth are the most common teeth missing from people affected with congenitally missing teeth.
B] Different Treatment Options to Replace Missing Teeth
There are many treatments available for missing teeth. These treatments help you find your confidence and give you the perfect set of teeth. All treatments have their pros and cons, and your Sunshine Coast dentist will recommend the most accurate form of treatment depending on your condition. Some of these tooth replacement options include:
1. Dental Implants
Dental implants have been designed to artificially replace a natural tooth root. They are inserted into the jawbone to support a restorative or replacement crown, bridge or denture. They can be the best solution for people missing one or more teeth due to injury, periodontal disease or other oral problem. They are the most ideal solution for people with single tooth denture or multiple tooth denture. They are also the most commonly used treatment that can last for a long time.
Advantages of Dental Implants
- There is a 95% success rate with this treatment.
- One of the facts about dental implants is that they are permanent and durable.
- They provide the best aesthetics along with comfort and natural feel.
- Only the affected tooth requires medical treatment, the adjacent teeth do not need to be modified.
- They have a long lifespan which proves to be more cost-effective in the longer run.
- They require minimal maintenance, and with good oral hygiene, cleanings and regular dental visit, they are efficient.
Disadvantages of Dental Implants
- The implant requires surgical procedure making the treatment more invasive.
- You need a greater number of dentist visits as compared to other options as the treatment is long.
- It can be an expensive solution to fix dental issues.
2. Dental Bridges
Dental bridges create a bridge that helps to cover the gap created by one or more missing teeth. In this treatment, there is a bridge created by two or more crowns for the teeth on both sides of the gap. The crowns are known as an abutment and are the anchoring teeth between the gap. Made from gold, alloy and porcelain or even a combination of the three metals, these false teeth (pontics) are supported by implants or natural teeth. There are many different types of bridges available, some of them are:
- Implant–Supported Fixed Bridge: This treatment has several stages and can take six to nine months. Implants are placed in the jaw area beneath the tooth loss area and take several months to heal after surgery. The implant is placed in the last part of the surgery with the use of a special dental compound that bonds the dental bridge and secures it to help it become a natural part of a smile.
- Resin-Bonded Bridge: The bridge is bonded to the teeth that are already attached and made of metal or porcelain.
- Tooth Supported Fixed Bridges: Also known as cantilever bridges, this treatment is used to build bridges with the help of the adjacent teeth from one side of the missing tooth or teeth.
*Not recommended for the areas at the back of your mouth as the pressure can become too much and cause damage to the teeth and gums.
Advantages of Dental Bridges
- It helps you restore the smile.
- Abilities like speech and chewing can be restored.
- Helps in maintaining the shape of your face.
- The replacement of the missing teeth can distribute the force for biting and chewing.
- It prevents the teeth from moving out of proportion.
Disadvantages of Dental Bridges
- If not fitted properly, the dental bridge can cause decay in the teeth from the area under the crown.
- The structure of the natural teeth can be reduced to accommodate the new bridge.
- The treatment might not work if the supporting teeth are not strong enough, and the restoration of the teeth can collapse any time soon.
- It is an expensive treatment and needs to be replaced in the long run.
A prosthetic device constructed specifically to replace missing teeth, supported by the hard and soft tissues surrounding the oral cavity is known as dentures. They are also called fake teeth. The designs for dentures often rely on the bonding and the clasp onto the teeth or dental implants (the fixed prosthetics). Partial removable and complete removable dentures are more conventional than all-on-four implant-supported dentures.
- Removable partial denture: Usually removable partial dentures consist of the replacement of the teeth attached to gum-coloured or pink plastic bases. With metal framework and clasps that help the dentures connect to your teeth, making them more natural- Consult a dentist to know which type suits you the best.
- Removable complete dentures: This is the best option for individuals who require replacement in the upper and lower jaw/arch of the mouth. The replacement of the missing teeth provides improved aesthetics and help in the overall improvement of mouth function, eating and speech.
- All-on-four Implant–supported Dentures: To support the full arch of the jaw with just four implants is possible for the lower denture, whereas the upper jaw requires six implants for support. This treatment has implants in positions previously occupied by front teeth, and the implants are inserted in the front of the arch.
Advantages of Dentures
- Dentures are a great replacement for missing teeth.
- They help in improving the chewing ability.
- Gives a natural look and smile.
- Helps in improving self-esteem.
- Dentures help in improving speech and pronunciation.
Disadvantages of Dentures
- They can cause sore spots in your mouth and compress the soft tissues. These problems can be taken care of with a few adjustments.
- It causes a gagging problem.
- They tend to get less and less stable in the lower jaw after a while.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use Veneers to replace missing teeth?
Dental veneers cannot be used to replace missing teeth. The treatment includes a thin porcelain veneer to be bonded to the front of the teeth and is used in cases of stains, chips or cracks. It is also used to cover up any discolouration in the teeth which cannot be covered with the use of teeth whitening.
- For Children with missing teeth, what is the best treatment?
The best treatment for small children with missing teeth is the replacement of the tooth. Other options for small children include preserving their baby tooth, which can be attached as the replacement tooth and give a much natural feel. You can also get the space to be closed up orthodontically. Consult your dentist for the best treatment for children.
- Can a missing tooth regrow?
Dental researchers have discovered the ability to be able to regrow a whole missing tooth. This experiment, however, has been conducted on mice. To use the same scientific method on humans raises concerns in the legal and ethical standpoint.
- For tooth replacement, is there any temporary options?
Temporary options for missing teeth are available through flipper tooth. Flipper’s tooth is a form of partial temporary denture that can be used to restore one or more missing teeth. The use of this treatment is to prevent the individual from feeling self-conscious by filling the small and unsightly gaps in your teeth until the person opts for a more permanent solution.
- Is there a cheapest way to replace missing teeth?
Dentures are the most affordable form of treatment available for missing teeth. This treatment doesn’t require any dental crowns or surgery. They also take the least amount of time to be formed and are a durable option.