Filling the Gaps with Implants

Filling the Gaps with Implants

Missing teeth affect both your appearance and confidence. Worse still, any gaps left by missing teeth can cause great strain on the rest of the mouth and jaw. Having a gap can also affect the bite, because the teeth surrounding the space can lean and alter the way in which the top and bottom set bite together. Decay and gum disease are often prevalent if missing teeth are not filled because oral care begins to suffer. 

There are a number of treatments and solutions available for those ready to replace missing teeth and fill gaps, including; bridges, dental implants and dentures.

Bridges

Bridgework is the conventional method of replacing missing teeth. A dental bridge is made of precious metal based materials and is generally used where there are fewer teeth to replace, or when the missing teeth are situated on one side.

Partial dentures

Dentures are removable replacements for missing teeth. They appear and function like regular teeth and gum tissues. Partial dentures are usually designed with small chrome clasps which work to surround the teeth and hold the denture in place securely. This also allows them to feel weightless and give more of a minimal feel in the mouth.

Patients who have several missing teeth with substantial gaps left over from a period of time, dentures are usually the most appropriate option as they provide maximum support for the cheeks and improve overall facial appearance.

Dental implants

One of the most common to improve long-term oral health is dental implants. Dental implants are a well-established substitute for a natural tooth root and give a more permanent solution to missing teeth. They resemble a cylinder shaped screw, which is inserted into the jaw bone and drilled where the original tooth once was, or should have been.

Permanent teeth are then fitted six to nine months after the implants are inserted to give them time to bond with the bone. Sometimes implants are already stable enough when they are fitted for the artificial teeth to be attached sooner. Whether or not implants can always be used to replace missing teeth depends on the condition of the bone in a patients jaw. If the bone is in poor condition, or isn’t substantial enough, it may be necessary to graft bone into the area first.

Dental implants are long lasting, and much like natural teeth will maintain their appearance and functionality as long as they are taking care of to a high standard. How well implants are taken care of, and how regularly maintenance appointments are scheduled – will have the most impact on their sustainability.

If implants aren’t taken care of they will begin to develop a plaque-like coating similar to that found neglected regular teeth. Like natural teeth if this is left untreated, it can lead to gum infection, bleeding, soreness and general pain.

If the bone they are fitted to is strong and healthy, implants can last for many years.  However, just like other surgical implants there is no lifetime guarantee.

 


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