How to Replace Missing Teeth
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92% of adults aged between the ages of 20 to 64 suffer from tooth decay. A majority of these people end up losing a tooth or more. Missing one or more teeth can be detrimental to the health and function of your mouth, therefore failing to replace a missing tooth can lead to bigger and costlier dental problems that can affect your everyday life.
If you have any pressing dental issues or questions, you can book an appointment online or contact us directly on (+356) 2125 7253 (Skyparks Business Centre, Malta International Airport), or (+356) 2155 7323 (Dingli Street, Victoria, Gozo). For international patients, it is recommended to request a free e-consultation where we can discuss your individual case and treatment options.
What are the effects of losing teeth?
Some of the issues associated with missing teeth include the following.
Whenever you lose a tooth, the opposing tooth on the other jaw tends to shift outwards into a new position. The teeth on either side of the missing one may also start to tilt into new positions. This shifting creates more space for other teeth to shift, affecting your entire bite.
When you lose a tooth, as the teeth close they take more force than they are used to. This makes them more prone to chipping or fracturing.
Your teeth are designed for chewing and gnashing food. So when you have one or more missing, it can make it difficult for you to chew efficiently
Your teeth help to support the shape and structure of your face. A missing tooth can cause your face to look sunken and aged as well as ruining your smile
Your teeth play a major role in your speech. Missing teeth can make it hard to pronounce certain words.
Common options for replacing missing teeth
Fortunately, thanks to advancements in dental technology, there are many options available for replacing missing teeth. Here are five of the most common ways for replacing teeth
A dental implant is a surgical procedure in which an artificial tooth root in the form of a titanium screw is drilled into the jawbone. These implants are specially designed to support replacement or restorative crowns, dental implants or dentures. They provide the look and feel of natural teeth. Although their cost is higher than all other options, they offer good value due to their longevity and function. With proper care, dental implants can last for years, if not decades without needing to be repaired or replaced.
The process of placing a dental implant is rather lengthy. It starts with replacing your tooth’s root with titanium screws, which help to anchor the replacement tooth. Once the screws have been put in place, you need to allow the implant to heal for a few months for the implants to securely infuse into your jawbone. Only when the implant has healed completely can a dental crown be placed on top and secured.
Find out more about dental implant treatment at Savina Dental Clinics.
A dental bridge is an artificial tooth or teeth that are held in place by the neighbouring natural teeth. These false teeth fill the gap where you are missing teeth, providing a strong structure to bite on. These bridges don’t require removal for cleaning and are typically much more cost-effective than dental implants. Also, compared to implants, dental bridges take a shorter time to make and don’t require surgery.
There are two main types of dental bridges:
The process of replacing each missing tooth with a dental implant can be extremely lengthy and expensive. Implant-supported bridges provide a great and affordable alternative to dental implants. With implant-supported bridges, you can restore several missing teeth with only the teeth at the two ends of the gap needing to be secured in place with implants. Usually one implant is required for every two teeth to be replaced. The teeth in the middle of the two ends are held in place without needing any screwing.
The process of implementing implant-supported bridges involves multiple trips to the dentist since the process of placing implants, customizing the bridge and placing the bridge in the location of the missing teeth takes time. Once the implant-supported bridge is in place, it looks, feels and functions like natural teeth.
Unlike implant-supported bridges, a tooth-supported bridge uses your existing teeth at either side of the gap to support the placement of a bridge. A crown is placed on the existing teeth next to the mission ones and cemented into place. This procedure usually only takes three visits to the dentist over 2 to 4 weeks
The downside of tooth-supported bridges is that they rely on the health and support of the neighbouring teeth. Hence, if the neighbouring teeth become compromised, the whole bridge is compromised.
For some particular teeth, if the bite allows, it is sometimes possible to glue missing teeth to the adjacent ones. The advantages here are relatively lower cost as well as the fact that there is no need to trim any of the adjacent teeth at all. Your dentist in be able to advise you if these bridges are suitable for you
Dentures are custom-made replacements for missing teeth that look and function like normal teeth. They are made using impressions (moulds) of your gums. The artificial teeth can be fixed on dentures with a plastic base or a metal framework. The dentures with a metal framework tend to be smaller and more sturdy than those fixed in acrylic (plastic) dentures since they are mainly supported by your natural teeth.
The type of dentures with a plastic base is majorly supported by the gums, which tend to compress and move out of alignment when chewing. Dentures are not permanently fixed in the mouth and must be removed every night when you go to sleep. Although dentures are great for chewing, speaking and aesthetic appeal, they are not as durable as dental implants or bridges and can become uncomfortable when worn over a long time.
Whether you are missing a tooth due to gum disease, tooth decay or an injury, the treatment options outlined above are effective and can last for years with proper oral care. Just make sure to discuss the options with your dentist to ensure you get the right treatment you need.
Although not strictly for replacing missing teeth, Dental veneers are a new, popular solution for people with gaps in their front teeth. Unlike dental implants and other dental appliances for missing teeth, dental veneers don’t require frequent trips to the dentist, needles, drilling, surgery or any other uncomfortable procedures.
Dental veneers for fixing gaps in your teeth are uniquely designed to provide our patients with a comfortable and complete solution to improving their smile and helping them regain their confidence. The dentist only needs to take a dental impression for your customized set of dental veneers, which are then fitted in one subsequent visit
Related Reading: Dentures Versus Implants: What to Consider
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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.