Monday, 19 March 2012

Missing teeth - what you should do.

If you have missing teeth, then there are a number of strategies open to you to fill the gap.

If you've lost teeth through extraction or accident, then there are a number of adverse effects that can occur:
  • The opposing tooth can overerupt - i.e. grow up/down into the gap
  • The adjacent teeth can move out of alignment
  • The bone in the jaw can recede
The traditional treatment for missing teeth is a denture.  With modern materials, these can look very effective but the plate to which they are attached may take some getting used to and some people do not take to them.  They will, however, help prevent both the overeruption of opposing teeth and the adjacent teeth moving into the gap.

A more permanent solution is a bridge which, as the name suggests, bridges the gap with an artificial tooth attached (usually) to the two adjacent teeth.  Two types are available - adhesive where the artificial tooth has wings cemented to the back of the adjacent teeth and fixed which, for a single missing tooth, looks like three teeth fused together (the adjacent teeth are prepared, as if for a crown, and the bridge which is essentially two crowns with an artificial tooth in between is cemented in place).  Again, a bridge will help prevent over-eruption of the opposing teeth and movement of the adjacent teeth.

Whilst effective, neither of the foregoing will prevent bone recession.  As a result, dental implants are the best solution as they replace the lost tooth in its entirety with the implant forming an artificial tooth root onto which a crown is attached.  Once placed, the implant integrates with the bone in the jaw and remains in place for the rest of your life.  Although initially more expensive than dentures and bridges, their permanence means that they are a cost effective long term solution.

AllClear offers all of the foregoing treatments and we will be pleased to advise on what will work for your particular situation.  Call in or phone 020 8688 3869 or see our website for further information.

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