Missing teeth may be a constant source of embarrassment. They can lead to changes in speech, self-consciousness when eating, and a change in facial appearance. The most important thing is that it impacts badly on your existing surrounding dentistry. The development of modern dentistry offers missing teeth replacement options which help recover your self-esteem and lessen or totally remove bad effect caused by loss of teeth.
Dental bridge is conventional replacement option. A dental bridge is a fixed dental prosthesis to replace one or more missing tooth by joining an artificial restoration definitively to adjacent teeth. Only the dentist that can attach the dental bridge to the natural teeth or remove them.
Process of dental bridge
If dental bridge is your replacement choice, the most significant concern is that the neighboring teeth next to missing teeth site must be in good condition because they are abutment teeth to attach the bridge in place.
- Prepare the teeth: the adjacent teeth need to be prepared by removing a portion of enamel in order to fabricate the bridge.
- Take teeth impression: After preparation, the dentist will take the teeth impression then send to laboratory to make dental bridge
- Placing temporary bridge for aesthesics and eating/drinking
- In the next visit, the dentist will remove temporary bridge. Then the dentist try on the permanent customized bridge to fully check the bite, the color and the fit. The dentist may make some adjustment if needed before bonding the bridge on adjacent teeth with specialized cement.
- Restore the appearance, function as natural as real teeth
- Do not require removal for cleaning
- More affordable price compared to dental implant
- Prompt and short dental treatment
- The healthy adjacent teeth on either side of the missing tooth that hold the bridge in place are damaged due to the preparation. The procedure is irreversible so that the teeth can not recover original shape
- Dental bridge requires careful and thorough hygiene practice
- Unable to prevent the bone loss in jaw
Dental implant is the leading replacement option with the highest success rate. It is the best solution if you lose single tooth, multiple teeth or all teeth. Dental implantation is a procedure in which a prosthetic, titanium tooth root (called implant) is surgically set in the jaw to make stable support for a restoration mounted on it.
The structure of a dental implant and a natural tooth are similar to each other:
- The artificial titanium root portion is placed in jawbone (function as natural tooth root)
- The visible portion is mounted on the post to serve for biting and chewing (function as natural tooth crown)
Dental implant procedure
- Implant surgery: The implant surgeon inserts the titanium root into the jawbone. Patients may experience pain after surgery but this feeling does not last long
- Osseointegration: Implants can take from six weeks to six months to fuse with the patient’s bone.This fusing process helps create a solid anchor to hold restoration mounted on later.
- Prosthesis placement: After few months of healing, prosthesis (crown, bridge or denture) is mounted on the implant screw to serve biting, chewing and restore the appearance of missing teeth.
- Implant is similar to natural tooth. It would provide not only proper function, natural feeling but also aesthetic appeal. The implant can withstand greater chewing forces, so that the patient can eat all of their favorite hard and crunchy foods
- Protect neighboring teeth
- Provide stability to the patient, by lasting for tens of years, even a lifetime
- Artificial tooth root helps stimulate the jawbone like natural root, which prevents the jawbone deterioration or gum receding.
- It may be the most costly replacement option
- High requirement of health status. Not all patients are good candidates for dental implantation
- Healing process takes longer time than other replacement options
Removable denture is the simplest and cheapest missing teeth replacement option. If you lose some of your teeth, you may need partial denture while full denture replace all teeth missing.
Removable denture consists of:
- Replacement teeth attached to pink or gum-colored plastic bases.
- Inner metal framework
- Clasps that connect to your natural teeth to hold the denture in place
How to use removable dentures?
- It takes time to “get along with” removable denture in your mouth. In the first few days, the patients may experience the excessive tightness and strange feeling.
- Strictly avoid biting too strongly to force the dentures into right positions, excessive pressure can fracture the artificial prosthesis
- You should not wear the removable dentures all day. Remember to take it out for cleaning every night
- Often visit your dentist to make sure your dentures are in good state. Careful checkup with your dentist helps discover damage that need adjustment as soon as possible.
- The removable dentures may become loosened due to the deterioration of jawbone overtime, which results in falling out, fracture and broken. You should visit your dentist to make adjustment or replace with the new ones.
- Convenient cleaning, easy to insert and remove
- Less difficult to adjust than dental bridge
- Affordable price
- Unnatural feeling, patients sometimes feel inconvenient and embarrassed
- The dentures may fall out when eating and speaking
- Require adjustment more often to fit well with the existing jaw and teeth
- Bone loss still occurs over time.