Whether it is due to extensive cavities, gum disease, injuries, or hereditary traits that prevent the development of all teeth, many people around the world suffer from missing teeth.
Missing or broken teeth are often a source of embarrassment and results in a variety of problems such as eating/chewing difficulties, speech problems, and tooth decay due to shifting of adjacent teeth.
A variety of solutions are now available to replace missing teeth, most of which can be put in place within a short period of time. The following options are available:
Complete Dentures—this is used when all the teeth of the patient are missing. Modern complete dentures are made of prefab acrylic. They fit into a custom-made acrylic base that ensures full adaptation to the user’s jaws.
Partial Dentures—used when a few teeth are missing. They are held in place by existing teeth so that it is vital that surrounding teeth are healthy enough to support the partial denture. Although relatively low cost, partial dentures have the disadvantage of showing an unaesthetic metal clasp in the smile.
Flippers—removable plastic teeth that are designed for temporary use.
Fixed Dental Bridges—these are more expensive but popular way to treat missing teeth. The procedure involves the dentist to trim down the adjacent teeth and take a mold. A laboratory then manufactures the bridge using porcelain and gold. This is then fitted in the gap and surrounding teeth. The result is a very natural feeling but the disadvantage is a high cost.
Implants—this method involves the placement of a tiny titanium rod onto the jawbone. This rod serves the same purpose as a tooth root. When the implant heals within the jawbone, a tooth can be attached to it. The result is a very natural feeling and there is no effect on surrounding teeth. However, it can take a long time to put in place—around eight or nine months of treatment is required. It is also a more complex procedure that requires minor oral surgery to place the titanium rods. Consequently, it is more expensive. If more than one teeth need to be replaced, then the cost of implanting would be far higher than the cost of the other replacement methods.