It happens to everyone at some point, you will have one or several teeth that need to be extracted. This may be due to general wear and tear caused by ageing or an accident, but the result is the same, a gap where the tooth once was.
To restore your smile to its former glory there are a number of different treatment options to choose from.
- Leave the gap!
If the extracted tooth is not visible when you talk and smile and does not affect your bite, it may be possible to leave the gap. The dentist will need to monitor the teeth on either side of the gap each time that you attend for your routine appointments to ensure that they do not drift or twist into the space causing problems with your bite.
- A Bridge
Dental bridges are used to literally bridge the gap caused by one or more missing teeth. A bridge is constructed using two crowns on either side of the gap, joined together with a false tooth or teeth depending on the number of missing teeth. A bridge will closely match the natural colour of your teeth and so should be indistinguishable from your natural teeth. The disadvantage of a bridge is that it requires the healthy teeth on either side of the gap to be cut down to support crowns. This may mean that in the long term if either of the teeth supporting the bridge decay or become damaged the bridge will fail. It is very rare that a second bridge can be created if the first one fails.
Dentures provide a useful treatment option if you have several missing teeth. Dentures can be made to replace one or many teeth spread across your upper or lower jaw. Dentures can be fitted immediately following an extraction so there is no need to worry about being seen with a missing tooth. Dentures also allow for further teeth to be added in the future, should the need arise. Dentures can be made from acrylic (plastic) or chrome (metal). Teeth are then added to the base to match the colour of your natural smile, so they will be indistinguishable from your natural teeth once in place. Overtime as your gums shrink it may be necessary to reline or remake your dentures to ensure that they continue to fit comfortably.
- Dental Implants
Dental implants are fast becoming the most popular way to replace a missing tooth. Dental implants have the advantage that they are self-supporting so do not damage the surrounding teeth. Dental implants can also help to stabilise bone loss in your jaw which can occur when a tooth is extracted and have even been shown to help promote healthy bone growth, improving the strength and health of your jaw. The dental implant is placed under local anaesthetic and then left for 3-4 months to heal, at which time it can be used to support a crown, bridge or denture depending on the number of teeth to be replaced. Although initially expensive once in place if cared for properly a dental implant should last for at least 10 years.
With so many options to replace your missing tooth you may feel baffled, but the team at Valley Dental Practice are all trained to advise and offer the best possible solution based on your individual case. Call the surgery today on 01255 220322 to book your appointment.