Should we replace missing teeth?
Today’s gold standard for tooth replacement is dental implants. A dental implant is a small, titanium alloy screw which is used to surgically replace damaged or missing natural teeth. The implant is placed into the jawbone so that the screw can firmly connect the artificial teeth or any other prosthesis to the jaw. Implants can also be used to support loose, removable dentures. Prior to dental implants, a partial denture or fixed bridge was the standard approach for tooth replacement. With a fixed bridge, the two teeth on either side of the gap (abutment teeth) are crowned and these support a “pontic” (a false tooth) between them. The biggest disadvantage of this type of treatment is that the abutment teeth are drilled down to accommodate the crowns which can often compromise healthy teeth. The biggest advantage of dental implants is that they do not affect the integrity of the adjacent teeth. However, there must be a sufficient amount of healthy jaw bone to anchor the implant and the adjacent teeth and gums must be healthy. They also have a longer lifespan in comparison to bridgework. To assess the quality and volume of bone we can now use 3D scanners which makes treatment simpler and safer.
WHY IS REPLACING MISSING OR LOST TEETH IMPORTANT IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Losing teeth can put emotional stress on ourselves. We all care about our appearance and how we look and this can affect our confidence both at work and on a personal basis.
Once a tooth is lost, the balance of the entire dental structure is disturbed. The gap can allow the remaining teeth to tilt and shift. This can affect regular chewing and can lead to further problems down the line. If multiple teeth are lost then bone can be lost which can make the face height change.
Chewing can be uncomfortable if missing teeth are replaced with ill-fitting dentures. The gum often becomes thin and delicate and the forces developed by the denture can cause ulceration and swelling. Losing the ability to chew food properly can stop you from enjoying a big part of your life.
If you would like further advice please feel free to call Summertown Dental Practice on 01865 558822 or email firstname.lastname@example.org