Missing teeth can cause a lot of problems but there are steps you can take. A bridge is an ideal method to fill the space created by missing teeth. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth cemented into place using the teeth on either side for support. This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science since it replaces a missing tooth both functionally and cosmetically. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material made to match your natural tooth color. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and aesthetics.
A crown (sometimes referred to as a “cap”) covers the tooth and restores it to its original shape and size. Decay is removed and cleaned from the tooth, and a highly accurate impression or mold is made of the prepared surface. This mold is then used to create a model of the tooth, which is then sent to a dental laboratory that will create a gold or porcelain (tooth-colored) crown. The crown is then cemented onto the prepared surface of the teeth.
The crown is incredibly strong due to the fact that it was specially designed and fabricated in a laboratory to the exact specifications of your mouth. This protects and strengthens the remaining tooth structure. In the hands of a skilled dentist, a crown will fit perfectly onto the prepared surface of the tooth, reducing the size and seam between the crown and the remaining tooth structure. This helps keep decay from eventually occurring beneath the crown, undermining the integrity of the crown.
Crowns should be placed before the tooth is so decayed that it may fracture. This can often help prevent the expense of root canal therapy in the future. It can also prevent the possibility that a fractured tooth may need to be removed, requiring the expense of a bridge or dental implant to replace the missing tooth.
Crowns are excellent restorations that have few disadvantages; they are highly durable, but they will eventually need to be recommended or replaced due to normal wear. Occasionally, a tooth may still require root canal therapy after being crowned. However, this indicates that the internal structure of the tooth was already infected, and would have eventually needed root canal therapy.
In cases where the tooth is so far decayed or fractured that it needs to be removed, the best alternatives to a crown are bridges or dental implants that replace the missing tooth.
A missing tooth is not something that should be ignored. It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible. If not treated, the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward. Since teeth use their neighbors for support, if one is missing they begin to fall and shift into the open spaces. This may worsen the bite because of the changes in pressure and can eventually result in problems with the jaw such as TMJ.
Bridges and crowns are made by first taking an impression of your mouth. The impression is sent to a dental lab where your crown or bridge will be custom made to fit your mouth and match your natural tooth color. A temporary crown or bridge will be placed into your mouth until your permanent crown or bridge is ready and cemented into place. Bridges and crowns are very durable and can last a lifetime with extra care and good oral hygiene. Here is more information on this dental technique and how it can help you:
A fixed dental bridge is a single appliance that is generally attached to two (or more) teeth on either side of the space where the missing tooth was. An artificial tooth attached in the middle of the bridge fills in the gap where the tooth once was. The teeth on either side of the gap are prepared for crowns, and a highly accurate impression, or mold, is made of the prepared area. This mold is used to create a gold or porcelain bridge in the dental laboratory. The bridge is then cemented onto the prepared surface of the teeth, effectively creating the appearance of a “new” tooth.
Unlike dentures, a fixed bridge is never removed. It is stable, and functions similar to natural teeth. By filling the gap and stopping the movement of other teeth, a fixed bridge is an excellent investment, affording the patient better chewing ability, stopping jaw joint problems, and saving money that otherwise might need to be spent on future dental treatment.
While a fixed bridge is an excellent restoration that has few disadvantages, a key problem with fixed bridges is that they require the extensive removal of healthy tooth structure to support the bridge. Increasingly, dentists are recommending dental implants as the treatment of choice for replacing one or more missing teeth.
Do you have questions about dentures? Here is some helpful background on what dentures are and how they can be a life changing addition that will allow you to enjoy smiling and eating again with confidence.
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures available, including
partial and complete dentures. Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain, while complete dentures are used to completely
replace all teeth. Dentures are made to resemble your natural teeth so there should be no noticeable change to your appearance. In fact, dentures may even improve your smile!
This restoration method is used to restore your smile and mouth function if all your teeth have been lost. The dentures are custom
created to resemble natural teeth and are positioned to take the place of natural teeth. Complete dentures are removable and may require adjustments in order to create a proper fit with the gums and mouth.
A removable partial denture is a device used when one or more natural teeth still remain in the upper or lower jaw. They usually consist of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base which is held in place in the mouth. A fixed partial denture acts the same as a removable denture, but it is cemented into place using adjacent teeth for support.
New dentures may feel awkward or loose for the first few weeks until the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place and you are comfortable eating and speaking. Although this may require some practice you will adjust and enjoy the benefits a full mouth of teeth can provide.
More information on dentures can be found below.
A complete denture is an artificial extension that is used to cover the partial or total lack of teeth. Dentures can be removable or fixed. Complete dentures are used on patients that are missing all of their teeth in one or both jaws.
Dentures replace missing teeth and can help recover an attractive smile and appearing like natural teeth. If you’ve lost all of your natural teeth, whether from periodontal disease, tooth decay, or injury, complete dentures can replace your missing teeth and your smile, and should last up to ten years.
A partial denture is a removable device attached to existing teeth that replaces missing teeth. Whether you are missing only a few teeth, or even if you have a minimum of two teeth on both sides, a partial denture is an inexpensive option to replace the missing teeth. This appliance restores a beautiful smile and improves functionality to the mouth.
Chewing with missing teeth can be an unpleasant experience, and can be harmful to proper digestion. Placement of a partial denture definitely addresses this problem. Speaking is also improved in comparison to speaking with missing teeth.