Replacement of Missing Teeth
Losing one or more teeth can certainly change the appearance of your smile and have a negative impact on your oral health and confidence. Even the loss of a single tooth can affect your speech, the ability to chew your food, and over time can cause the shifting of your teeth into some of the empty spaces if it isn’t be replaced. Fortunately, there are a few options available to replace your missing teeth and to help restore your beautiful smile.
What are the available options to replace missing tooth/teeth?
1. Dental Implant
Dental implant has been designed to artificially replace a natural tooth root and are inserted into the jawbone to support a restorative or replacement crown, bridge or denture.
– Most similar to natural tooth
– Suitable to replace single tooth or multiple teeth in different areas
– No involvement of neighbouring teeth, so adjacent teeth remain intact
– Minimal maintenance required
– Prevent loss of jawbone
– Requires surgical procedures
– Requires healing time for the implant to fuse with the jawbone
2. Dental Bridge
A dental bridge is held by two crowns, which normally fitted onto the teeth on either side of the gap, and the crowns are attached to the replacement teeth on the missing area. This type of restoration is permanently cemented in place.
There are a lot of designs for dental bridge, which includes fixed-fixed bridge, Cantilevel bridge, Maryland bridge and implant-supported bridge. Do consult your dentist to determine which type of bridge works best for your needs.
– Look and feel like a tooth
– More economical option compared to dental implants
– No surgery required
– Teeth adjacent to the gap need to be trimmed in order to support the bridge
– Food particles can slip underneath the bridge and extra effort needed to clean under the bridge
3. Removable Denture
The denture is custom-made based on a mold of your mouth. It is fabricated out of pink acrylic, which mimics your gums and supports and stabilizes the denture. The acrylic teeth attach to the base and fit into the space of the missing teeth in your mouth.
– Less expensive than dental implants and dental bridges
– Easier to repair
– No surgery required
– Uncomfortable and unstable compared to dental implant and dental bridges
– Must be removed and cleaned on a daily basis and removed before sleeping
– Do not always function well or look as natural as fixed options
1. Do I need to take out my dental bridge?
No. Dental bridge is a fixed dental replacement option. It is permanently cemented in place and remains all day and all night.
2. Can I eat normally with dental bridge?
Yes. The dental bridge will function as your normal teeth would. In other words, you don’t have to worry about chewing and eating with the dental bridge. However, hard foods like nuts can damage the structure of dental bridge, just like eating hard food with your normal teeth will increase the risk of teeth fracture as well.
3. How long will the dental bridge last?
Generally, bridges can last anywhere between 5 and 15 years or even more. The key is proper oral and dental care. Routine teeth cleaning and check-up are required to increase the lifespan of dental bridges.
4. How do I take care of my dental bridge?
Food particles can slip underneath the bridge, hence floss is needed to adapt underneath the bridge to keep that area clean. Routine check-up every 6 months is required to detect early failure of dental bridge.
5. Can I get my dental bridge in one visit?
No. During the first visit, consultation and X-rays will be done to determine whether your case is suitable for dental bridges. After a treatment plan is made, the process of getting a bridge takes two visits. In the first visit, the teeth are shaped and an impression is taken and sent to the lab. A temporary bridge is made and cemented. At the second visit, the temporary bridge is removed and the permanent bridge is cemented in.
6. Are there different types of dental bridges available?
Yes. There are fixed-fixed dental bridges, Cantilever bridges, Maryland bridges, and implant-supported bridges. Fixed-fixed dental bridges are the ones involving crowns on either side of the gap. A Cantilever bridge is similar, except it only needs the support of a crown on one side. A Maryland bridge doesn’t need a dental crown for support because it’s held in place by a framework that’s bonded on the back of the adjacent teeth without needing to trim them down. An implant-supported bridge uses dental implants for support instead of adjacent teeth. Do consult your dentist to determine which type of bridge works best for your needs.
1. Do I need to remove my dentures at night?
Yes. You should remove your dentures at night and this will allow give your gum tissue to rest from the pressure of the denture and allows normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva. Dentures should be cleaned at night and stored in water during the night.
2. Can I eat normally with my denture?
You need to learn how to use dentures properly and hence it takes a little time to get used to them. After a while, you should be able to eat fairly normally. Start out by eating soft foods that are cut into small pieces. Chew on both sides of the mouth to keep even pressure on the denture. Avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard. You may want to avoid chewing gum.
3. Will the denture change the way I speak?
You may find it difficult to pronounce certain words with your new denture. Practice reading out loud and repeat the words that give you trouble. With time, you will become accustomed to speaking properly with your denture.
4. Can I get my denture in one visit?
No. It takes a few weeks and normally 3-5 appointments. These include: Impressions – a mold is taken of your gums and/or teeth; Bite registration – we measure how you bite and select your shade of teeth; Wax try-in – you get try the denture on before they are actually finished; Finish – you get to wear your new denture home.
5. How do I take care of my dentures?
Dentures are porous and prone to absorbing stains over time. Scrub them with a soft toothbrush using soap and water. Toothpaste can be abrasive and will wear down the gloss coating and make them prone to staining.
6. How long can I start to do my denture after teeth extraction?
It takes about 4-8 weeks for the gum to heal properly after extraction of the teeth. Hence, it is advisable to start fabricate the denture after 4-8 weeks to ensure a good fit for the denture.
Written by Dr Michelle