Despite advancements in dentistry, tooth loss is still a fact of life. The reasons range from extensive tooth decay, to advanced gum disease or fractured teeth from large fillings and teeth grinding. Once a tooth is lost, a decision should be made regarding next steps.
The most obvious disadvantages of leaving a gap are the cosmetic problem and difficulty with chewing. Also, adjacent teeth drift and tip into the gap, and opposing teeth will extrude into the space. This predisposes the teeth to gum disease, due to difficulty in accessing plaque under tipped teeth. Tipped teeth can also become unstable and loose. Arthritis can often occur in the jaw joint, due to the unevenness created in the bite.
A denture is a removable appliance containing false teeth to replace all the teeth (full dentures) or less (partial dentures). Dentures are notoriously difficult to live with, even though some people seem to manage. They predispose the teeth to decay and gum disease since they retain plaque and they keep the protective saliva away from the teeth. Dentures are generally worn through the day and removed at night.
When suitable, bridges can be made as a fixed method to replace teeth in between two existing teeth. The most common method involves placing crowns on the adjacent teeth, connected by one or more replacement teeth which sit flush on the gum. The big disadvantage of bridges is the need to treat neighbouring teeth, as well as the added difficulty of maintaining good hygiene under the bridge.
Where there is suitable bone quantity and quality, nothing beats implants for teeth replacement. These titanium fixtures are inserted into the jawbone as a replacement for missing tooth roots. Once they are integrated with the bone, crowns are made to replace the missing tooth above the implant. The result is a replacement tooth which emerges from the gum just like a real tooth. At Apple Dental we use 3D x-ray and CEREC technology to produce precision implant placement guides, which ensure perfect positioning and simple, stress-free implant placements.
If you want to gather more information about what you could do after a tooth is lost, please let us know. You could either call us on (02) 9420 5050; or visit us at 1 Finlayson St Lane Cove NSW 2066. We are always here to help!