Tooth Replacement Options

DenturesLosing a permanent tooth whether it is due to dental decay, Periodontal Disease, injury or accident, can cause many serious problems for your neighbouring teeth. The remaining teeth may begin to shift due to altered forces, the surrounding teeth will also deteriorate faster due to increased forces and stresses on them are ways to prevent that from happening.

Dentures

Dentures are artificial teeth that can be removed. Many people who are missing one tooth, several teeth or all their teeth, benefit greatly from dentures. Made from the latest polymer resin materials, dentures are very natural looking and they can be matched in colour and appearance to your other teeth.

The dentures should be removed and cleaned daily to keep your gums healthy and to allow your tissues to relax. You should expect to have your dentist reline the dentures every two years.

Crowns

Crowns are restorations that cover or cap teeth, restoring them to their natural size, shape and colour. They are needed when there is a need to strengthen teeth that are mechanically weakened for example teeth with large cavities.

The first step requires the dentist to take an impression of your upper and lower teeth to make a permanent record of their appearance and how they fit together when your jaws are closed.

The second step usually requires a local anaesthetic. The tooth is shaped using a drill, making it smaller by one or two millimetres. After shaping, another impression is taken to record changes to the prepared tooth.

These impressions are sent to a dental technician who makes the crown according to specifications provided by the dentist. To protect the prepared tooth, a temporary crown is attached to the reshaped tooth with temporary cement. As a temporary crown is not as strong as the final crown, you should chew on the opposite side of the mouth and avoid sticky or hard foods.

The final stage requires the temporary crown removed. The new crown is placed over the reshaped tooth to check that shape and colour match properly. If they do, the crown is cemented to the tooth with dental cement. The cement usually sets in less than one hour and reaches full strength at 24 hours.

With proper daily home care and regular professional maintenance (usually every 6 months) crowned teeth will last for many years.

Bridge

A Bridge is a custom-made device anchored to adjacent teeth that replaces one or more missing teeth.

A fixed bridge is commonly cemented to the natural teeth next to the space left by a missing tooth. A false tooth (called a pontic) replaces the lost tooth. The pontic is attached to the crowns that cover the adjacent teeth. The crowns, which are cemented onto the natural teeth, provide support for the bridge.

The steps in preparing and fitting a bridge are similar to those for a crown. The teeth on either side of the gap are shaped by drilling. These teeth are fitted with crowns, which serve as anchors for the replacement tooth that is attached to the framework of the adjacent crowns. The whole piece is then cemented firmly in place.

ImplantsImplants

A dental implant is a small high-tech titanium fixture that serves as a replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. Titanium is used because it is the most biocompatible with the human body. Dental implants may be used to replace a single missing tooth or a complete functional set for individuals who have lost many or all of their teeth.

This procedure allows one or more teeth to be replaced without affecting the neighbouring teeth and is a long term solution for tooth loss.

Dental implants help to withstand greater biting pressures when combined with dentures. They also prevent bone loss in the jaw which may reduce the risk of adjacent natural teeth becoming loose. Dental implants are usually surrounded by gum tissue like natural teeth and may even prevent gum recession. Unlike bridges, dental implants do not require the cutting and reshaping of neighbouring healthy teeth and are usually more comfortable than dentures.