From the desk of Dr Nami Farkhondeh.
Thousands of years ago, if you lost your teeth in ancient Egypt, “dentists” would give you an apparatus made of another person’s teeth threaded through gold wire. Nowadays, replacing missing teeth is not that much of a problem anymore as there are a handful of options out there that you can choose from depending of the number of teeth lost, nature of loss, your current status and personal preferences.
Dentures are removable appliances that mimic the shape and texture of your teeth. They can be put in and removed whenever you feel like it and can be made of metal or plastic. As a dentist practising Periodontology and Implant Dentistry, I always inform my patients about this option. It is the most economical choice and can work well for many of the people that come and see me.
Dentures however can to move around a lot when worn, especially when there are too few teeth to hold them in place. They also need to be handled with care and must not fall on hard surfaces. Dentures also need to be brushed regularly (just like your real teeth, really) and soaked in a glass of water when not worn.
Traditional Bridge Work:
This is a fixed option and relies on adjacent teeth to hold the false teeth in place. Traditional bridges require the filing down of adjacent teeth. The abutments (crowns) are then inserted into these posts to support the false tooth in the middle, which will replace the gap.
While it is generally cheaper compared to implant treatment, it requires the shaving down of often healthy teeth. Dental bridges should last for on average 10-15 years.
Implant Supported teeth:
Implants are titanium posts that are inserted into the jawbone which act as roots. They can be placed singly to replace one missing tooth or as multiple placements used to anchor multiple teeth as in a bridge. Implant supported -teeth require the availability of adequate bone and require a degree of grafting if there is an inadequate amount present. This is a relatively simple procedure if the deficiency is small, however, can be more advanced where there is a severe degree of bone loss.
Implant retained teeth provide an attractive way of replacing missing teeth and can be seen as a new chance as they can look natural and are independent of any of your other teeth. It has to be remembered however, that they need meticulous care and maintenance if you wish them to last for a long time.
Leave them as is:
Perhaps the no-brainer of all options. Dr. Farkhondeh explains that, “Not every tooth that you have missing needs to be replaced. Some teeth are unopposed by other teeth and do not play a part in your chewing function. While some other teeth cannot be seen and may be of little concern aesthetically.”
Whatever the option you think is best for you, it is always a good to consult with your dentist. Otherwise, you might lose more than just your teeth in the long run.
Dr Nami Farkhondeh is a dentist providing periodontal and dental implant care in London, UK. For contact details and more information, visit https://www.namifarkhondeh.co.uk