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Missing teeth can be for many a source of embarrassment, sometimes pain and always a lack of confidence in one’s appearance, to the extent that they might be reluctant to smile or even go out in public.
There are lots of reasons for tooth loss, including decay, gum disease and traumatic injury. Fortunately, the modern dental clinic with access to and experience in the latest treatments is well placed to provide long lasting solutions, restoring your missing teeth along with your confidence.
Dental treatments for missing teeth are important for both functional and aesthetic purposes and there are several options available to replace missing teeth. The choice of treatment will depend on a number of factors. These include how many teeth are missing and from where in the mouth, the patient’s overall oral health and the budget available. Here are the most common treatment solutions for missing teeth.
Dental implants are a popular and long-lasting solution to replace missing teeth. They are popular not only for their strength and longevity but also because they are the closest substitute for natural teeth. An implant consists of a titanium post surgically placed into the jawbone on which an artificial tooth, made of a porcelain crown, is fixed. This will be made to match the colour of the natural teeth. The custom-made crown will be permanently attached once the implant has fully integrated with the bone, to leave a natural-looking, functional tooth. Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth and can last for many years with proper care.
A bridge is another way of permanently replacing one or more missing teeth. It works without drilling into the jawbone by anchoring artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth or even to a dental implant. The adjacent teeth must be strong and healthy as part of these teeth will be ground down in order for a crown to be permanently fixed onto them. That way, they can support the crowns which will replace the missing teeth. The supporting base of a bridge is usually made from metal and the new teeth are made from porcelain. These will be styled to match the colour and shape of the natural teeth. A dental bridge should be considered a non-removable solution and should last for at least 15 years.
Dentures are another natural-looking solution where all or some of the teeth are missing. Complete dentures are used where all the teeth are missing from the upper or lower jaw or both. They can be fixed via implants or using denture cement. Partial dentures can be a practical solution when multiple teeth are missing and there aren’t enough natural teeth left, or they are in poor condition and are unable to support a bridge or implant solution. The denture will fill the space left by a missing tooth through attachment to the adjacent natural teeth using either metal clasps or other attachments.
Dentures are designed to sit over the natural line of the gum to restore the look and functionality of the natural teeth. They also help to restore the natural contours of the face, helping to correct the sagging and ageing of the lower face which can occur through extensive tooth loss.
If you don’t like the thought of a removable denture then an implant-supported denture may be a great solution. These are easier to maintain and clean than fixed implants and are advantageous cosmetically where gums have receded.
The choice of treatment solutions should be made only after a thorough evaluation by a qualified dentist or orthodontist who will consider factors like oral health, bone density and patient preferences so that, with good oral hygiene and careful maintenance, your new smile should last for many years.