Missing teeth can be a functional problem for increased pressure on other teeth, eating and drinking, an aesthetic problem for conversation and holding face shapes, and a social problem for confidence and self-esteem. There are alternatives to missing teeth.
Dentures are a great alternative to no teeth but not a great replacement for teeth. They certainly fill in the gaps for smiling and socializing. They are not attached to the remaining teeth but use clasps to sit into the slopes of the teeth to hold them relatively closely in place. Because they are not attached they will move about and you may need to change your chewing pattern to prevent them moving too far out of position. Dentures and the teeth that hold them need special cleaning as they can trap food and squish the gums. Dentures need to stay out at night. Dentures can be purely acrylic or nylon or metal and acrylic.
For a single missing tooth a bridge is a plan. A bridge closes the gap between two teeth by having a crown on either side and a bridging tooth in between. Bridges are currently made out of porcelain, metal, zirconia or a combination of all of these. Bridges do require removal of tooth structure on the teeth on either side of the gap. We also need to consider the pressure of chewing on the span of the bridge and the health of the adjacent teeth. The more we interfere with natural tooth structure the higher the chance of the tooth nerve dying and the tooth requiring root canal treatment of having to be removed leading to more missing teeth. Bridges need to be able to be cleaned under the bridge with special brushes or superfloss to keep the tissues healthy around the remaining teeth.
Implants are made of surgical titanium. Implants can be used to replace a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth or a full set of dentures. They don’t damage the remaining teeth and need to be cleaned in your usual floss, brush, mouthwash routine. Implants are not a quick process as we need to wait for healing to occur during the stages. In some cases implants can be placed in the site the tooth has been removed from immediately and a temporary crown or bridge placed. In other cases the removal of the teeth occurs and a temporary denture or splint is used. Then we wait for the bone to heal over 4 – 6 months before placing the implant/s. Once the dental implant has healed into the bone impressions are taken and a crown or bridge is made to screw into the implants. Dr Stone will tell you that this stage is a bit more like carpentry than dentistry as it is all about screw drivers and force distribution! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4cPDuWyaOY&t=40s
Dental Family news
Spring is nearly here! Time to get out and about and find some sun after a really wet winter. We would like to introduce you to Belinda our new hygienist. Belinda has had lots of experience in hygiene and is up for a bit of a chat! She has moved back to Adelaide after time working in the UK and other states of Australia. Belinda has been with us for about a month now and has fitting really well into our dental family. Thanks for making her feel so welcome!
See you in the clinic! The Adelaide City Dental Care Team.
PS: check out our socials (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram) for top tips for teeth, mouth and gums and dental family snaps! Maybe even the latest video on YouTube.
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