Think of it as a set of upright Domino pieces. When you remove one piece, there’s a risk that the pieces on either side will fall into the gap and tooth stability may be reduced. With teeth we call it ’tilt and drift’.
Food may be trapped there, increasing the risk of dental decay and gum infection. Missing teeth can also affect your facial appearance and how you talk. Having noticeable gaps in your teeth (yes, it’s evident at the back when you smile) also transmits a negative image of personal neglect.
To replace missing teeth you’ll need one or more of the following:
How we replicate nature
Dental implants – This is the most secure attachment option. It involves placing an artificial root (a bionic tooth root) into the jawbone. Implants can support single missing teeth, bridges or even full dentures.
For 40 years now, dental implants have proven their success and longevity. However the proviso is that together with high oral hygiene, excellent quality materials are used, correct protocols are followed and treatment is done by skilled and experienced practitioners. There’s no compromise in dentistry at our City of London EC4 practice.
Often implants can help people who have lost all their teeth. Implants can retain multiple fixed bridges or retain and stabilise remove dentures. Obviously in such a solution numerous implants will be required.
Dental bridges – Where one to three teeth are missing and there are strong teeth on either side of the gap, sometimes a fixed bridge may be a better choice than an implant. It may even be a less costly option.
Bridges and implants each have their ‘pros and cons’. The longevity of bridges may not be quite as good as implants, but you’d still expect a well made bridge to last 10-20 years. Both can and should look completely natural. At our City of London EC4 practice we ensure that such dentistry is of superior and lasting quality.
Partial dentures – The loss of over three teeth in a row (in cases where implants are not used) will require a partial denture. This will comprise a metal and/or plastic plate to which porcelain or plastic teeth are attached. Metal clasps or ‘precision attachments’ are incorporated into the plate that’s attached to your natural teeth or crowns.
Full dentures – If you’ve lost all your natural teeth, then you most likely will require a full denture – usually made of a plastic plate and plastic teeth. The plate size can be minimized, and the retention and stability maximized if it is retained by two or four implants. Optimal full dentures can be a real challenge to the dentist and are never ‘easy’!
Preserving natural teeth
Fortunately the incidence of losing all one’s teeth is rapidly decreasing. With modern dentistry, where the best practices of Dental Health and Function are applied, everybody should be able to keep most, if not all of their natural teeth for their entire lives.