Exploring Options for a Missing Tooth

Published on June 01, 2023
What to do with a missing tooth?

If you’ve recently undergone a tooth extraction, you may be wondering what the best option might be for replacing the missing tooth…or, perhaps you’re unsure whether you even need to worry about a replacement.

In fact, replacing a missing tooth can not only help to regain the appearance of your smile, but can also enhance the functionality and overall health of your mouth - so it’s often a good idea all round!

At National Dental Care, we’re here to help you make the best decisions for your oral health. In this article, we’ll provide more information on the available treatment options for replacing a missing tooth, so you can choose a solution that fits your needs, lifestyle and budget.

Ready to restore your smile? Read on to discover how your dentist can help.

The importance of replacing a missing tooth

Is it really necessary to replace a missing tooth? The short answer is maybe. Aside from the aesthetic impact, that gap in your smile may also have consequences for your long-term oral health. Over time, a missing tooth may cause the adjacent and opposing teeth to shift, resulting in misalignment which can affect your bite and oral hygiene.

In addition, the jawbone around the missing tooth can also start to deteriorate, leading to potential bone loss.

To avoid more complex and costly issues in the future, it’s important to take action now and talk to your Dentist about whether finding a tooth replacement option that keeps your smile and your oral health in the best condition is important for you.

Replacing a missing tooth with a Dental Implant

One of the most popular and effective solutions for replacing a missing tooth is a dental implant.

A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically inserted into the jawbone, acting as an artificial tooth root. This post provides a stable foundation for a customised dental crown that closely resembles your natural teeth in both appearance and functionality.

Dental implants offer numerous benefits, including:

  • Stability and durability: As they’re designed to fuse with your jawbone, dental implants offer a sturdy and long-lasting solution.
  • Improved oral function: Another benefit of dental implants is that they function just like natural teeth - so you can chew, eat and talk with confidence.
  • Preservation of jawbone: Dental implants can prevent bone loss and maintain the strength and structure of the jawbone.
  • Aesthetic finish: Dental implants are custom-made to match the colour, shape, and size of your existing teeth.

What’s involved in a dental implant procedure?

  1. Assessment: Your dentist will evaluate your oral health, jawbone condition, and suitability for a dental implant, they will require x-rays, and probably a 3d scan for this.
  2. Surgical placement: The implant, made of titanium, is surgically placed into the jawbone, where it fuses during a healing period.
  3. Abutment and restoration: An abutment (a supporting structure that joins the implant to the crown) is attached to the implant, and a custom-made dental crown or bridge is placed on top to restore the missing tooth.
  4. Follow-up Care: Regular check-ups and good oral hygiene practices are important for the long-term success of the dental implant.

It’s important to note that the process and timeline will depend on individual circumstances - speak to your dentist for more information.

Dental Bridges to replace a missing tooth

Dental bridges are another great option for replacing a missing tooth. A dental bridge is a particularly good option if the teeth adjacent to the gap have previously had large fillings.

A dental bridge consists of one or more artificial teeth, which are anchored in place by dental crowns on adjacent teeth.

Dental bridges offer several advantages, including:

  • Restoration of your smile: By filling the gap left by a missing tooth, dental bridges help to restore your smile's appearance.
  • Enhanced oral function: Dental bridges allow you to chew and speak without difficulty, making it easier to enjoy your favourite foods and communicate clearly.
  • Preventing shifting in adjacent and opposing teeth: A dental bridge can prevent neighbouring and opposing teeth from drifting out of position, helping maintain a proper bite alignment.

What’s involved in a dental bridge procedure?

  1. Assessment: Your dentist will evaluate your oral health, surrounding teeth, and suitability for a dental bridge.
  2. Tooth Preparation: The adjacent teeth are prepared by removing a small amount of enamel to accommodate dental crowns that will support the bridge.
  3. Impression and restoration: 3D impressions of your teeth are taken to create a custom-made dental bridge. The bridge, consisting of artificial teeth and dental crowns, is securely placed onto the prepared adjacent teeth, filling the gap left by the missing tooth.
  4. Follow-up care: To maintain the health and longevity of your dental bridge, regular check-ups and good oral hygiene practices - including brushing, flossing, and professional cleans - are important.

It’s important to note that the process and timeline will depend on individual circumstances - speak to your dentist for more information.

As you can see, both dental implants and dental bridges offer an effective way to replace missing teeth, restoring your smile's appearance and functionality while ensuring the long-term health of your mouth.

If you have any questions about tooth restoration options or want to have a chat about the best option for you, simply reach out to the friendly team at your local NDC Group practice.

We look forward to helping you restore your smile and your confidence!

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