Missing Teeth

Upper molar overerupting into missing tooth space.

Bridges, Implants and Dentures are all options for missing teeth.

So why the heck would you want to replace a missing tooth?

Apart from the obvious reason of putting more load on the remainder, it may surprise you to know...

1. The tooth in the opposite jaw can continue to erupt because it hasn't got anything to connect to.

2. The teeth on either side of the space can tip and tilt into the space

Both of these events upset the bone and gum around these teeth, potentially creating problems with your gums or periodontal disease.

You basically create a weak link in the chain. It often surprises people who some years after they've had a tooth/teeth  out, find their  smile looking like a rollercoaster track.

It is wise if you are unlucky enough to have an unrestorable tooth requiring extraction, to get a night time retainer to hold the adjacent and opposite teeth in place, if a more permanent option isn't possible for financial or other reasons.

If you are missing one or several teeth, your options are:

1. IMPLANTS (see Implant section for detail) .

This is usually the best, although most expensive option, where the defective tooth/ root is replaced by a titanium implant. This can then have a crown placed on top. The overall effect is like having a "bionic' tooth replacement for the damaged or diseased tooth.

2. BRIDGES (see below)....where crowns on the teeth on either side of the missing tooth are used to "bridge' the space. This is a less expensive option than an implant but requires placement of crowns on either side of the missing tooth space to give support (see picture below)

3. DENTURES .. These are removeable plastic (or metal) plates and the least expensive (and unfortunately comfortable) option

Bridges

Bridges are a connected set of 2 or more crowns bonded to the teeth on either side of a missing tooth. Because they are custom-made and fixed in place, bridges are barely noticeable and can restore the natural contour of teeth as well as the proper bite relationship between upper and lower teeth.

A combination of porcelain and gold alloy, or often these days a very strong material called zirconia, is used to make a bridge.

Apart from appearance, it can be important to replace missing teeth to prevent stresses and the shifting of adjacent teeth as well as over-eruption of teeth in the opposite jaw (that would normally be kept in place by the bite/occlusion)

Procedure.....

After numbing the area the adjacent teeth/tooth are prepared and shaped for crowns, then an impression is taken (the impression is sent to the laboratory for processing). A temporary bridge is placed over the tooth to protect it until the final bridge is inserted approximately 2 weeks later.

Care For Your Crown/Bridge/Implant

It is very important  to keep the area free of plaque and debris under the bridge or around your implant. The area under the bridge needs to be cleaned with Super Floss, Interdental brushes or piksters. Obviously regular care with a hygienist can prevent problems.