Unfortunately, there may come a time when a tooth is no longer viable and may need to be extracted. In order to ensure that you are not left with an unsightly gap that can affect your confidence or lower your self-esteem there are a number of different options available. In this article, we will look at each of the options in turn.
1. Do Nothing
If the tooth is not visible when you talk and smile and is not required for you to eat with comfort, it may be possible to leave the gap. The dentist will keep a close eye on the gap and will monitor it each time you attend your routine visits. There is the possibility that the teeth on either side of the gap may shift and move affecting your bite and causing discomfort. It is also possible for food to become trapped between the remaining teeth and if left untreated this can lead to potential tooth decay and gum disease.
2. A Denture
A denture can be made to replace one or more missing teeth. They can be made of metal (chrome) or plastic (acrylic) and have the added advantage that they can be fitted immediately after the tooth is extracted. This means that you will not have to worry about a gap at all. If the denture is fitted immediately after the tooth is extracted it will need to be relined or remade after 4 – 6 months as your gums will shrink following the extraction and this can cause the denture to become loose and poor fitting. For added security clasps can be added to the denture which fixes your remaining teeth and helps to stabilise the denture.
3. A Dental Bridge
A dental bridge is made by putting crowns on the teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth and joining them together with a false tooth or teeth to create the appearance of a full set of natural teeth. A bridge is made by the laboratory technicians from impressions taken of your mouth and will be cemented in place so that it cannot be removed. The disadvantage of this is that it is necessary to damage healthy teeth in order to put the bridge in place. Bridges would normally be expected to have a life expectancy of 7 – 10 years.
A dental implant can be used to support one or more false teeth either with a crown or dentures. Implants are a long-established treatment and if cared for properly should last as long as your natural teeth.
A titanium screw is placed into the jaw to support the restoration so it is necessary to complete a detailed examination of the jaw to determine the levels and health of the bone present. If there is not enough bone it may not be possible to proceed with implants without first having a bone graft. It will be necessary to give the gum time to heal following an extraction before implant treatment can start. Once started it takes around 3 – 4 months from the time the implant is placed for the full restoration to be completed as it is necessary to give the bone time to heal around the titanium screw.
With all the options available there is now no reason to be embarrassed by a missing tooth. If you would like to discuss the possible options to fill gaps caused by extracted teeth, call Leigh Dental Centre on 01702 472929 and book a consultation appointment today.
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