If you are missing multiple teeth, several solutions are available to replace them. Your choice of how to replace missing teeth can depend on the location of the teeth in the mouth and whether they were originally adjacent to each other. Options for missing teeth can include the following.
Removable partial denture
Dental implant bridge
Removable Partial Denture
A removable partial denture is the least invasive and most cost-effective solution for replacing missing multiple teeth. It consists of an acrylic base plate often strengthened with a lightweight metal frame made from cobalt chrome. The acrylic supports the replacement teeth, and there are usually clasps made from metal that fit around natural teeth, helping to hold the partial denture more firmly in place.
The teeth that must be replaced do not need to be adjacent to each other but merely in the same arch. It is sometimes possible to add additional teeth to a partial denture if more natural teeth start to fail and need removal.
Potential Disadvantages of Partial Dentures
While it is the cheapest option, a partial denture is the least comfortable and can rub on the gums or move around during eating and talking. A partial denture will not provide a biting and chewing strength similar to natural teeth, so you must adjust your diet accordingly. The clasps fitted around your natural teeth can put these teeth under excessive stress, making them more likely to fail in the future.
A dental bridge can replace multiple teeth that were originally side-by-side. It consists of crowns designed to fit over the teeth on either side of the gap. These are called abutment teeth, supporting the replacement teeth attached between them. The replacement teeth are called pontics and are shaped to look natural, restoring your ability to bite and chew food comfortably.
Potential Disadvantages of Dental Bridges
However, your natural teeth must be strong enough to support a dental bridge. If multiple teeth are missing, this can substantially increase the forces placed on the abutment teeth and could increase the risk of them failing later. Additionally, these abutment teeth must be substantially recontoured to be covered with crowns. When dental crowns age, they can leak, increasing the risk that the abutment teeth underneath the crowns will become decayed and infected.
Sometimes, no natural teeth are present to support a dental bridge, in which case dental implants are the best solution.
Dental Implant Bridge
A dental implant bridge is ideal when natural teeth are missing entirely or are not strong enough to support an ordinary bridge. It is not necessary to replace every single tooth with a dental implant. Instead, two or more optimally placed implants can support a bridge to replace multiple missing teeth. The bridge is fabricated similarly to an ordinary dental bridge but is specifically designed to fit over the dental implant abutments attached to the implant posts. It can be cemented or screwed in place and is a non-removable prosthesis.
Potential Advantages of Dental Implant Bridges
The major advantage of choosing a dental implant bridge is the positive impact on your remaining natural teeth. The implant bridge will help prevent existing natural teeth from moving out of position and spread the load created when you bite and chew food. Most importantly, there is no need for natural teeth to be reshaped to accommodate dental crowns. The implant posts also help protect the surrounding jawbone, preventing bone resorption.
Potential Disadvantages of Dental Implant Bridge
Treatment can initially cost a bit more than other options because it involves a surgical procedure, and implant components are expensive, depending on the brand and system chosen. If you lost teeth some time ago, bone grafting may be needed to ensure there is plenty of strong bone to hold the implants firmly in place.
Dental implant treatment also takes longer to complete. After your initial consultation and diagnostic tests, we carefully plan your implant treatment stage by stage, using computer-guided oral surgery to insert the implants during a short surgical procedure.
Once the implants are in place, they need time to heal. We may attach a temporary prosthesis to be worn during healing while the implants integrate with your jawbone. The temporary prosthesis is designed to splint the implant posts together so they cannot move and ensures you can speak and socialize with others confidently and eat comfortably. However, you may need to avoid certain foods during healing.
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Weighing up the Options
Choosing a solution that will suit you best to fix missing teeth is important. Therefore, we can offer practical advice and guidance on all available options, ensuring you understand the pros and cons of each solution and what treatment entails.
Cost is often an important factor when replacing missing teeth. The most cost-effective solution is a partial denture while having a dental implant bridge is the most expensive. But it is important to consider which will provide the most comfort and security and last the longest. The ability to eat, talk, smile, and laugh comfortably can considerably affect your quality of life.