There are several reasons behind a missing tooth. Such incidence from; Sports or accidental injury, decay, gum disease, genetic conditions, dental recommended extraction can all be reasons behind missing teeth. Regardless of the reasoning, the absence of a tooth or several missing teeth can effect confidence, the function of chewing and speech. With advancements and evolution in dental technologies and trends, there are a number of solutions that dentists may recommend to replacing missing teeth. Each method varying upon the patients specific needs, desires and budget.
Fixed Dental Bridge
A ceramic dental bridge is the treatment method of creating a fake tooth bridge to fill and complete a gap for missing teeth. The process involves using the neighbouring tooth or several neighbouring teeth as anchors and replaces the missing tooth with a ceramic crown covering all the teeth. The “anchoring” teeth that support the bridge are marginally filed and shaped to hold the dental bridge.
The porcelain crowns provide a pleasing aesthetic as the bridge is unnoticeable and shaded meticulously to match the colour of adjacent teeth.
As a result of the porcelain bridge being cemented onto the supporting teeth, otherwise known as anchoring teeth, dental bridges are a fixed permanent solution that are not removable.
A dental bridge can either be supported by natural teeth or dental implants.
They are common to be fabricated as 2 or 3 units, but at times can be made to cover 6 teeth. In longer dental bridge cases, multiple teeth are used as “achors” if they are strong and healthy enough. When a 2 unit bridge is made, one natural tooth is commonly used as the anchor, while a full additional ceramic crown is made to fill the gap. One a 3 unit bridge, 2 of the outside teeth are used as the anchor, while a full ceramic crown is made for middle missing tooth.
Varying upon the amount of remaining teeth and patients financial circumstances there are several options available with dentures for replacing missing teeth.
Dentures can be categorized as:
- Complete Denture
- Partial Denture – For patients with several missing teeth, a dentist or prosthetist may recommend a partial denture. There are different types of partial dentures that are dental professionals take into consideration upon recommendation. These include, aesthetics, support from remaining teeth, oral sensitivity and financial considerations. The differing types of partial dentures include:
- Cast Metal Partial Denture
- Acrylic Partial Denture
- Flexible Partial Denture
- Implant Supported Denture
Complete dentures are often recommended to patients that require a full row of new teeth for either the upper or lower row. Generally a conventional denture is provided once the full gum has completely healed. This can often occur for patients that have had no teeth for a significant duration of time. Or for patients that have recently required tooth extraction and have waited for the recommended duration of healing to occur. The healing time, post surgery or extraction can average up to 12 weeks.
In contrast an immediate denture is provided immediately after post surgery. Usually immediate dentures are temporary as they may require relinement and adjusting once the appropriate healing time has transpired. As a result from tooth extraction or gum disease treatment, bones can shrink or slightly reshape from the loss of the supporting root from teeth. Therefore, in the long term, complete conventional dentures are known to last several years for most patients as their made with the assumption that bone movement will be minimal.
Partial dentures are ideal for patients with one or several missing teeth. They are recommended to patients that have some natural teeth remaining. The remaining teeth are used to support and stabilize the removable dentures.
Another benefit of partial dentures is that they help prevent surrounding teeth from moving.
Benefits of partial dentures:
- Improve functionality and speech
- Helps stops natural teeth from shifting
- Decrease risk of gum diseases
Partial dentures can be made with different materials. Each take into account aesthetics, patient preference and financial considerations.
Acrylic Partial Dentures
Acrylic Partial Dentures are the most cost effective and economical option and can be made quite quickly.
A gum coloured acrylic forms the supporting structure of the porcelain fake teeth and are held in place by metallic clasps to the adjacent teeth. When in place, they can look natural although upon closer inspection, the metal clasps can be noticeable.
Acrylic partial dentures are often used temporarily in place of a more permanent durable solution such as cast metal or dental implant options. They tend to be weaker than other options. As a result, acrylic partial dentures are susceptible to breaking. To avoid this, the acrylic material are purposely designed to be thicker to help strengthen the denture. Due to their thickness, they can be viewed as being bulky to wear in comparison to other options.
- Economical cost
- Fast turnaround for patient
Cast Metal Partial Dentures
Chrome dentures are a long lasting durable option for teeth replacement. Structurally, the high quality frame is built of an ultra-thin metal cast. The metal frame, providing excellent strength and stability.
Vastly more superior than acrylic dentures, chrome partial dentures are far more comfortable to wear. They also tend to cover less of the mouth palate. Therefore, allowing clear speech and greater sense of taste. Although made of metal, the provide no sense of metallic taste in the mouth.
Partial chrome dentures take longer to make than acrylic dentures since more components are used. Cobalt dentures tend to use a combination of metal, acrylic for the gum lining, and ceramic crowns. As a result, they cost more.
- Increase sense of taste
- Durable and last longer
- Smaller frame
- Increased strength while chewing
- Increased support to adjacent teeth
Flexible Partial Dentures
Fabricated with a flexible resin base, flexible partial dentures are less rigid and bulky. Flexible plastic dentures are almost invisible to the eye as there are no metallic clasps to hold the denture in place. The aesthetic appeal is further enhanced since the material allows the patients natural gum colour to appear through the denture lining.
Flexible (Valplast) dentures have become increasingly popular over recent years. Due to their elasticity, they are more comfortable to wear and easier to insert or remove.
- Comfortable to wear
- Less rigid
- Smaller and thinner than acrylic dentures
- Flexibility allows for easier removable
Dental Implants are the highest quality and premium method for replacing missing teeth. Being a permanent treatment method, they look and feel like natural teeth. Implant teeth can be used to replace a single missing tooth, several adjacent teeth (known as an implant bridge), or a full row (otherwise known as an all-on-four denture). With proper dental hygiene and routine dental check-ups, dental implants are a lifelong replacement. Over time, only the ceramic crown may require replacing after 10-15 years.
The process of a dental implant involves having a titanium post surgically inserted through the gum and into the bone structure. The purpose of doing so allows the titanium post to emulate the root of a natural tooth. Having the post surgically positioned into the bone helps stimulate bone growth while also strengthening the area to support neighbouring teeth as the bone prevents any form of weakening.
The metal screw is used to house a ceramic crown that is placed over the top. The fake tooth is unnoticeable as there are no visible signs of artificial gum linings or metal clasps, like that of a removable denture. Unlike a dental bridge, adjacent teeth are left unaffected and intact throughout the treatment process.
As the most durable and long-lasting option for replacing missing teeth, dental implants are also the most expensive option. In contrast, there are a substantial amount of complex steps with dental implant treatment. Varying upon the health of the patient, the overall treatment time may average 3 to 5 months. some visits may involve a combination of treatments.
Dental implant procedure often involves;
- Initial consultation
- Medical/health eligibility of the patient
- Damaged tooth extraction or gum treatment
- Jawbone preparation (grafting) if required
- Surgical guide planning
- Surgery of implant placement
- Bone growth and healing time (between dental visits)
- Implant and crown fabrication
- Abutment placement, which is connected to the implant
- Artificial tooth/crown placement
Get a FREE first in-chair consult for a quote from a dental implant dentist near you. Contact one of our dental clinics across South East Queensland Dental Implants Gold Coast, Dental Implants Logan, Jimboomba, Bray Park, and Wynnum.
Our clinics provide an initial FREE Consultation for a quote for replacing missing teeth.
If you would like further information on how our aesthetic dentists can help to replace missing teeth, simply complete the enquiry form below.