Do I need to replace missing teeth?
There are primarily two reasons why you’d want to replace a missing tooth. Firstly, appearance. Missing teeth at the front of your mouth, which reveal your smile affect your appearance so some people are conscious about this. Another reason to replace a missing tooth is the strain placed on the teeth either side of where the missing tooth once sat. The gap left by a missing tooth can also affect your bite and can lead to food debris getting packed into the void created by the lost tooth. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease if food debris can’t easily be removed during daily brushing.
How do you replace missing teeth?
Having teeth replaced depends on where the missing teeth are in the mouth as well as the condition of your existing teeth.
Three options for replacing missing teeth. The first option is to have a partial denture and this is where you have false teeth which are removable for cleaning. The second option is to have a fixed bridge which holds one or two teeth. When there are fewer teeth to replace, a bridge is usually used. It is also often used when there the missing teeth are all from the same side of the mouth. The third option for missing teeth is to use dental implants. Here, an artificial root is inserted into the jawbone with a crown or bridge position on top.
A partial denture has one or more teeth fitted on to it. It can be made from plastic or metal and plastic combined. The denture will have clasps which keep the denture in position while in the mouth. Sometimes, these claps may be visible when you smile but this depends on where they are on your denture.
Partial dentures that are made from metal usualy contain a cobalt and chromium alloy which mean they are mush stronger then plastic partial dentures. In order to blend in with the natural colour of gums, they have a pink, gum-coloured plastic as part of them along with natural looking teeth. Metal partial dentures are more expensive than plastic counterparts, but do generally last longer.
What type of denture is best for me?
Your dentist is the best person to ask advice from as they will know the condition of your teeth better than anybody and will advise accordingly. Most often, a metal partial denture is the best option for most people.
After tooth removal, can a bridge be fitted immediately?
For gums to heal properly, it can take anything up to 6 months after a tooth has been extracted. For such cases, a temporary denture may have to be fitted before the bridge.
Looking after dentures
Like natural teeth, dentures have to be brushed to keep them in good condition. This means a daily regime of cleaning, consisting of brushing, soak then another brush. Care should be taken when cleaning your denture. Be sure to clean over a soft towel of bowl of water just in case you drop it. Dropping it onto a hard surface may damage it. To help remove bits of food from the denture, it’s best to brush first then soak, followed a final brush. Effervescent cleaning tablets can be used to help remove stains and gives your denture a fresh feel the next time you use it.
Toothpaste can be used on the denture will a small headed toothbrush. For the surfaces of the denture that fit against your gums, ensure those are debris free otherwise the denture won’t feel in place when you insert it. This also applies when using denture fixative products.
Your denture can be given a more thorough clean by the dental team, removing any build ups of scale and stains in the process.
Can I sleep with my denture in?
It is recommended you take your denture out at night, but remember to soak your denture in water to prevent it changing shape or cracking due to drying out.
Is there an alternative option to a partial denture?
Yes there are. The main alternatives being a fixed bridge and dental implant. Dental bridges are made by placing crowns on top of the teeth which sit either side of the gap. The crowns are joined together by a false tooth that is positioned in the gap. A special adhesive is used to glue the components together which make up the bridge. Once is position and glued, a bridge can’t be removed, hence the name, fixed bridge.
Is a bridge always an option for missing teeth?
No it’s not. Having a bridge fitted requires existing strong teeth to attach it to. The dentist will be able to determine if a bridge would be suitable as an option for your missing teeth.