So, the worst has happened, you have attended an appointment with the dentist only to be told that unfortunately that broken tooth is no longer repairable and must be extracted. What next? There are several different options available to you to fill the gap caused by a missing tooth.
Leave the gap
If the tooth that has been extracted is at the back of your mouth and does not affect your bite, it may be possible to leave the gap.
The dentist will need to keep a close eye on the teeth surrounding the gap to ensure that they do not twist and move into the space, as this can cause discomfort.
You may also find that you get problems with food becoming stuck in the gap and if left this can lead to decay in the surrounding teeth.
Dentures can provide a good solution if you are missing several teeth. Dentures can be fitted immediately following an extraction so there is no need to be seen with a missing tooth. Dentures are made of either acrylic or metal and can be fastened to your natural teeth using small clasps. Dentures can take some time to get used to and it may take some time before you can eat and talk with confidence. After a time the dentures may need to be relined or remade as your gums shrink and the socket heals to ensure that they continue to fit well.
A bridge is made by placing crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap and joining them together with a false tooth or teeth. Bridges are fixed onto your existing teeth using a strong adhesive and cannot be removed. Bridges are made of all white ceramic materials so will closely match the natural colour of your teeth. It is necessary that the teeth on either side of the missing teeth or tooth are healthy as they will be supporting the false teeth.
A dental implant can be used to support one or several false teeth. A titanium screw is placed into the jaw and this is used to support either a crown, bridge or denture. Implants are a safe and well-established treatment and if cared for appropriately should last 10 years. A full assessment will be carried out prior to treatment to ensure that there is enough bone present to support an implant, if there is not it may be necessary to perform a bone graft before implant placement can be considered.
Once the implant has been placed it is necessary to wait 3 – 4 months before the final restoration can be fitted, in order to give the bone time to heal around the screw.
If you have any questions or would like more help and advice on your options to replace a missing tooth do not hesitate to call Leigh Dental Centre today on 01702 472929 and book a consultation.
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