If you’ve lost one or more teeth, you should have them replaced right away. It’s also important to choose the best replacement method possible to gain the full benefit of that replacement. First, we’ll explain the reasons that replacement is so important. Then, we’ll discuss some of the top options for filling in those gaps.
The Benefits of Replacing Missing Teeth
Most people immediately think of increased chewing ability, and it’s obvious that putting a functional replacement into a gap will provide this benefit. What isn’t so obvious is that tooth replacements do more than give you another surface to chew on. They also help keep the teeth next to the gap from slowly moving into the empty space. The tooth above or below the gap is also prevented from moving to fill the area.
Depending on the solution chosen, replacement of missing teeth can also prevent bone loss in and around the area where the natural teeth are absent. This increases stability in the mouth and prevents the puckered-in look that results from a lack of bone structure in the face.
Solutions for Missing Teeth
Bridges and Dentures
Bridges are common solutions when one or a few teeth have been lost. An artificial tooth crown is placed in the gap, and it is connected to the adjacent teeth for stability and permanence. One of the immediate downsides to bridges is that those adjacent teeth have to be crowned even if they’re healthy.
The other problem with bridges is harder to see. This problem involves the bone in the area of missing teeth. Since bridges transmit no force down into the jaw, the bone deteriorates over time. The area then becomes weaker and less stable, so the surrounding teeth are at greater risk of moving or suffering from other problems.
Full dentures have long been the solution to an entire arch of missing teeth. Like bridges, they provide chewing surfaces where there were none before, but do nothing to preserve the underlying bone. The resulting bone deterioration is the cause of the sunken-faced look that eventually plagues wearers.
These are the gold standard for tooth replacement, and they can be used to replace one, several, or even all of the teeth in your mouth. This is why we recommend dental implants to our Sydney tooth replacement patients. Their ability to preserve bone structure is what makes them so great from a medical standpoint.
As the name implies, dental implants are installed by implanting a post directly into the jaw bone. A crown is placed on top of the post to provide the chewing surface(s). Since the implant post goes into the bone, force is transmitted to that bone every time you chew. This tells the bone to stay strong and preserves the integrity of your entire jaw. You’ll also notice immediate benefits in your day-to-day life. Implants provide very strong chewing surfaces so you can eat with confidence. You also won’t have to worry about taking your teeth out to soak them or using special picks to get around bridgework. In your old age, you’ll see the benefits of that bone preservation mentioned earlier – your face won’t sink in and you won’t have to present a toothless grin.
When just one or a few implants are needed, each one gets its own post and will feel as much like a natural tooth as is possible with a replacement. If you need a mouthful, you’ll get implant dentures. Implant dentures are permanently attached to several posts, but not one for each tooth. This gives it the needed stability without causing unnecessary surgical trauma.
Because of these benefits, we recommend that you use implants to replace missing teeth whenever possible. This will ensure the top level of both medical and cosmetic benefits and provide the most long-term satisfaction. Just contact us to learn more about the dental implant procedure or to make an appointment today.