Missing Teeth Replacement: Crown and Bridge, Dentures or Implants
What are Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges?
Both crowns and most bridges are like replacement parts for your teeth and once in place they’re there for a long time and will mean that your teeth will both look and function naturally. They’re different to dentures (or false teeth) that you can take out and clean daily because they are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.
A crown can be used to cover or “cap” a damaged or broken tooth. Once it is in place it looks your own tooth, strengthens the tooth and improves the appearance a tooth.
Crowns can be made of porcelain or ceramic material which can be matched to the colour of your natural teeth. Sometime gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic will be used and I will always recommend the type of crown I think will do the best job for you and your teeth.
A Bridge may be recommended if you’re missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or tilt into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad BITE. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to GUM DISEASE and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Your dentist can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost.
Dentures, also known as false teeth, are prosthetic devices constructed to replace missing teeth, and which are supported by surrounding soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. Conventional dentures are removable, however there are many different denture designs, some which rely on bonding or clasping onto teeth or dental implants.
There are two main categories of dentures, depending on whether they are used to replace missing teeth on the mandibular arch or the maxillary arch, and whether they are only partial of full.
Replacing missing teeth helps to distribute the chewing load across the other teeth, because in the long term the teeth that are remaining end up cracking and collapsing due the other missing teeth. Another important factor is that posterior teeth act as pillars in holding the airway open, and with fewer teeth breathing may be influenced while sleeping.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are replacement tooth roots, or a screw, made from titanium. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth. The case selection or patient’s circumstances for the implant are crucial for success and has to be carefully planned.
What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
There are many advantages to dental implants, including:
- Improved appearance. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.
- Improved speech. With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that teeth might slip.
- Improved comfort. Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.
- Easier eating. Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult.