Replacing Missing Teeth

What are the ways to replace a missing tooth?
There are several problems that could occur when a tooth is lost. The most obvious include difficulty in chewing and change in appearance. Never has the value of the phrase ‘Don’t know what you got till it’s gone’ been more true than it is when you lose your tooth. Losing even one tooth can have a negative impact on your oral health and confidence. Some of the less known problems associated with lost tooth/teeth include change in your speech and pronunciations. In the long run there will also be a loss in the integrity of your jawbone, and cause the slow shifting of your teeth into some of the empty spaces.
Isolated missing teeth can be replaced in 3 ways viz. with removable partial dentures, fixed partial dentures and dental implants.

1. Removable partial dentures:

• As the name implies, it is a partial denture that replaces a few missing teeth and is removable.
• The fact that it is removable is the most common drawback of this treatment option it needs to be removed and kept in water the night before bed and reinserted in the morning after waking up.
• It also needs to be removed and cleaned separately when brushing your teeth.

2. Fixed partial dentures (Bridges):

• Unlike the first option to replace missing teeth, these dentures are fixed.
• They are given by grinding the adjacent teeth, using them as pillars of a bridge and replacing the missing tooth.
• Below are schematic images of fixed partial dentures (bridge) and crowns. Note that the sound teeth adjacent to the tooth/teeth to be replaced are trimmed to make way for a bridge.


3. Dental Implants:

• One way to replace missing teeth is dental implants.
• It is a titanium screw that is surgically inserted into the jawbone below the gum line to function as a tooth root.
• Once placed, the doctor will attach a crown over the implant to ensure it looks like a natural tooth.
• Dental implants not only look like natural teeth, they function in the same way.

As mentioned earlier a dental implant is essentially a “titanium screw” that is fused into the jawbone. They are suitable for anyone who has lost teeth, regardless of age or gender. With a 98% success rate, implants ensure dental patients the health of their teeth and gums.
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