Dental Crown Treatment in Boston, South Lincolnshire

Closing The Gaps: Missing Teeth Solutions

When you have a gap, what is the best way to fill it?

We all hope that we won’t lose a tooth, but unfortunately most people will do just that during their lifetime.

If you have a gap what problems can this cause and what are the main reasons to fill it?

  • First, if it’s near the front of your mouth it can look unsightly and ageing, causing embarrassment or unwillingness to smile or laugh (who wants to live without laughter???)
  • From a medical point of view the lack of a tooth can cause issues with chewing/grinding food. Whilst you might quickly adapt to eating in a different way this can cause issues such as jaw muscle pain or extra wear and tear on other teeth.
  • Movement of other teeth as there is now space.
  • Depending on the location of the missing tooth, you may experience difficulties with speech.

 

So, what options do you have?

  1. Leave it – if you are not having any problems and your dentist is monitoring it (for the issues mentioned above) then leaving the gap may be an option.
  2. Bridge – where the teeth either side of the gap are prepared and a prosthesis “bridges the gap”. This lab-built, colour-matched prosthesis is the attached to the teeth on either side of the gap. These teeth supporting the bridge must be healthy and strong. There are different types of bridges, and your dentist will discuss the best option with you. Generally, bridges last between 5 and 15 years.
  3. Denture – Whether you have just one missing tooth or several it is possible for the dentist to create a dentureto fill the gap or gaps. They can be made of different materials (chrome or acrylic) and are custom made to fit securely and may be fastened to your natural teeth with metal clasps. Dentures tend to last around 5-7 years.
  4. Implants – can be used to support one or more false teeth. A titanium screw is placed into the jaw, and this is used to anchor a custom-built tooth (crown) or even a denture. You would need to have a full assessment of your mouth to determine whether your mouth is healthy enough and that you have enough bone in your jaw to insert the screw into. It will take about 3-4 months from the point theimplant is fitted to being able to fit the final restoration as this gives time for the bone to heal around the titanium screw. With good care and attention, a dental implant can last for 20 years or more.

 

So, what is the best option for me?

There are several arguments to be made in all these tooth replacement methods – we recommend discussing all options with your dentist to ensure that you have all the facts so that you can have an informed choice. Here are a few things to consider…

 

  1. Cost – at a glance, bridges or dentures can appear cheaper than implants, however costs can add up getting replacements or adjustments. Over a lifetime, these may add up making an implant a better financial investment.
  2. Stability – dentures can be less stable than implants, especially after some time has lapsed and gums shrink. As the implant acts as the tooth root and holds the false tooth as securely (if not more securely) than natural tooth roots. Bridge stability relies on the health of the surrounding teeth.
  3. Procedures/how much prep is required – having dentures is the least invasive of the options. Several appointments are required to make and refine the fit of new dentures. Bridges require healthy teeth to be prepped – removing a layer of enamel to allow the bridge to fit over them. Bridges usually require two appointments – the first to have a scan or impression of your teeth for the lab to make the bridge, plus preparation of the surrounding teeth. Implants require the placement of a screw into bone – other teeth are not affected. The crown or denture will be fitted a few months later to allow full healing of the bone and gum.
  4. Strength – whilst dentures are relevantly strong, they need to be removed for cleaning and unfortunately this is the time when accidents, such as dropping, can happen. Again, bridges themselves are strong as long as the teeth on either side do not fail or become problematic. Implants are very strong – however, you will need to maintain good oral hygiene at home (brushing and flossing) to prevent gum disease and implant failure.
  5. Longevity – dental implants will generally last longer than either dentures or bridges.

 

Hopefully you will have found this informative – of course, if you wish to discuss this with us the give us a call on 01406 364600 and our friendly reception team will get you booked in!

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