Losing a tooth not only impacts your appearance but can also affect your oral health. Tooth loss can lead to misalignment, bite issues, jawbone resorption, and increase your risk of decay and gum disease. If you are missing a tooth, it’s essential to act quickly and talk to a dental professional who can discuss what types of tooth replacement options are available such as dental implants and dentures.
There are several effective tooth replacement options. Your dentist can assess your eligibility for tooth restoration depending on the position and number of your missing teeth, the quality of our jawbone, and your overall oral health.
The Importance of Replacing Missing Teeth
When you lose a tooth, it is crucial to fill the space. If the area isn’t visible, and it’s toward the back of the mouth, it could be tempting to leave the socket empty. However, this is not recommended; replacing missing teeth helps maintain overall oral health. Not filling the gap can result in a host of problems, both in the short- and long-term.
Losing a tooth has a knock-on effect, causing your remaining teeth to shift along the periodontal membrane. This can affect adjacent teeth and the integrity of the underlying dental arch. In the long-term, this can compromise the jaw structure and result in bone loss and gum tissue deterioration. Other issues can include changes in bite, an increase in tooth decay and gum disease as your teeth become more difficult to clean.
Tooth Replacement Options
There are three main options for replacing missing teeth: dental implants, removable partial dentures, or fixed bridges. The option you choose depends on how many teeth you’ve lost, the density of your jawbone, budget, and lifestyle.
Dental implants are the best option for a long-term solution to missing teeth. This procedure fills the gap with a hard-wearing permanent fixture consisting of a titanium post embedded in the jaw, connected to an abutment, and topped with an artificial crown.
However, this procedure works best on patients who are in good health. If you are struggling with a significant illness like an autoimmune disease, cancer, or osteoporosis, this can compromise the success of dental implants and influence healing ability.
Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple non-consecutive teeth, or a full arch. Four or six implants can be fused with your jaw to support a fixed denture-like appliance.
A removable partial denture consists of replacing missing teeth with replica teeth on a gum-coloured acrylic base. This denture may involve clasps, and metal framework that connects the appliance to your remaining teeth. It attaches to your teeth with a device called precision attachments. Crowns may be required to ensure a good fit in the mouth.
Fixed bridges are used to replace several consecutive missing teeth, and can be tooth-supported or implant-supported. For implant-supported bridges, the dentist places four dental implants, then a row of prefabricated crowns on the implant base.
A tooth-supported bridge is a more affordable option than implant-supported and involves grinding and shaping the teeth adjacent to the missing teeth to fit dental crowns. Tooth-supported bridges are not permanent and do not support the underlying tissues. This can lead to bone deterioration which may mean that you need to replace your bridgework after several years.
Digital Dental Implants
Digital implant surgery is one of the most recent developments in tooth replacement options. The process checks the nerve and bone conditions through a 3D computer simulation. This gives the dentist exact information about your mouth, helping them perform the procedure with greater precision and efficiency.
A digital 3D scan produces less radiation than a traditional X-ray, yet provides essential information which simplifies your surgical experience.
DIO dental implants allow patients to have a minimally invasive procedure. The information derived from the digital scan enables the dentist to fabricate a template for use as a guide during surgery. The template reduces surgery and recovery time as the dentist does not need to make a large incision and allows for precise placement of the implant.
Digital Implant vs. Conventional Implant
Conventional dental implant surgery must be performed in several stages, with adequate healing time in between. The first surgery exposes the bone and allows the dentist to implant the titanium post. The second surgery involves opening up the gum to attach the abutment and place the crown. Each time it’s important to wait to allow healing and ensure proper osseointegration.
The DIO implant system uses the same dental implants as the conventional method. However, it uses technology to locate the correct implant placement and performs it using minimally-invasive surgery. There is no need for reopening the gum, less chance of infection, and a faster recovery period.
Contact Available Dental Care
Replacing missing teeth doesn’t have to be stressful. Schedule an appointment to discuss your tooth replacement options with one of our experienced members of staff. Contact our practice at (02) 4062 8763 to restore your smile and start your journey to better oral health.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.