What Are The Options Available To Replace Missing Teeth?
If one or more teeth are missing, there are several options available to replace them.
Dental implants are attached directly to the jaw bone. The implant emerges from the gum, very much like a natural tooth. Because it does not rely on nearby teeth for support, it is a good choice to replace a tooth when nearby teeth have no or only small fillings.
Dental implants are placed in a surgical procedure and usually require weeks of healing before a second minor surgery exposes the top of the implant in preparation for the crown to be made.
Implants are generally as easy to clean as natural teeth.
Dental bridges are fixed dental appliances, which means that they cannot be readily removed from the mouth. A bridge will most commonly replace a single tooth, relying on crowns on the two adjacent teeth to hold the artificial tooth in place. Sometimes longer spanning bridges are made to replace more than one tooth.
Many people prefer a bridge to a denture because it is the size of a tooth and does not cover the gums or the roof of the mouth.
A conventional dental bridge has potentially more impact on the adjacent teeth than a denture or an implant. This is because the two teeth on either side must be trimmed to fit the crowns. If the teeth on either side have never had a filling, or they only have small fillings, a conventional bridge may not be the ideal option.
Dr Teo will assess the state of your teeth and gums, discuss your options and recommend treatment options that are most suitable to your dental health and personal circumstances. In some cases, where the dynamics of forces are favourable, a conservative Maryland (bonded) bridge may be a viable alternative.
Dentures are removable dental appliances that can be used to replace one or many teeth in the top and/or bottom jaws. They may be held in place by metal clasps, or in the case of full dentures, rely on the suction created by the palate and muscles of the lips, cheeks and tongue to be held in place.
Dentures allow for easy cleaning of the remaining teeth and gums because they can be removed entirely from the mouth. Some people don’t like the idea of having removable teeth; others can find the appliance difficult to tolerate. However, many people cope very well with well-fitted dentures and are able to eat and talk normally after a period of adaptation.
Dental Implants vs Dental Bridges vs Dentures
A comparison of the features of each type of replacement for one or more missing teeth.
|Attached via||Clasps on nearby teeth||Crowns cemented on the teeth on one or both sides||Surgically placed into the jawbone|
|Easy to clean?||Yes||Yes, with practice||Yes|
|Size||Covers part of the gum so may feel thick||Similar size to natural teeth||Similar size to natural teeth|
|Ease of adapting||Varies||Easy||Easy|
|Surgery required?||Not usually||Not usually||Yes|
|On average, how long do they last? *(Depends on many factors, varies from case to case)||5 – 10+ years||10+ years||10+ years|
|Ease of repair||Easy in most circumstances||Varies||Varies|
|Approximate time to make||3-6 weeks involving approx. 4-6 appointments||2 weeks involving approx. 2 appointments||16-26 weeks, involving 3-5 appointments, 1-2 of which are surgical|