Even the loss of one tooth affects your other teeth, your jaw, and even your overall health eventually. Firstly, its corresponding tooth on the opposing jaw no longer has anything to bite against. Secondly, it can destabilise your other teeth, which can start to drift, tip into the gap and maybe even fall out.
At Kings Dental in Hammersmith, we have seen what can result from one lost tooth, and we always recommend getting a replacement for your missing tooth.
Dentistry has long been concerned with replacing missing teeth. Prosthodontics is the name of the branch of dentistry that focuses on artificial replacements for missing teeth. There are several kinds to choose from these days, thanks to advances in dental research. You can choose between a fixed or removable replacement for the crown, or a replacement for both root and crown.
The fixed bridge
There are several kinds of bridges. The traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic (replacement tooth) in between. The most common type of bridge is made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics. We use cantilever bridges if you only have teeth on one side of the gap. Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge) are made of plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal framework. Metal wings on each side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth. Bridges can last 5 — 15 years, depending on how well you take care of them.
Dentures (or false teeth) are removable replacements for missing teeth. They tend to be made of either acrylic or porcelain for the crowns. They rely on suction to the gums for support for chewing. Complete dentures are used to replace all the teeth, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.
Dental implants are inserted into the jaw. They are titanium posts or screws onto which we attach single or several teeth. They can replace dentures, or be used to stabilise dentures. They are not available on the NHS. When looked after, they can last a lifetime.