Teeth can be missing for many reasons, including dental decay, tooth fracture, gum disease, genetics and accidents. If a missing tooth is not replaced, you may notice tipping of the adjacent or opposing teeth into that space over time. These changes can lead to increased wear of certain teeth, or spaces between the remaining teeth where food can get stuck. If you are looking to replace teeth, here are a few options:
An implant is considered to be the gold standard for replacing missing teeth. It is a post, usually made of titanium, that is surgically placed into the bone where the tooth is missing. The bone is allowed to heal and fuse with the post for a few months before the top portion that you see above the gums, also known as the crown, is attached.
Like implants, bridges are a non-removable prosthesis. Unlike an implant, which replaces the entire tooth including the root, a bridge only fills in the missing crown (chewing) portion that’s visible above the gums. The portion that looks like the missing tooth is called a pontic. For the most common type of bridge, the pontic is connected to crowns that sit on the supporting teeth on each side of the missing tooth. These supporting teeth must first be modified prior to the bridge being inserted.
A denture is a removable prosthesis that can be taken out anytime. Dentures are a more affordable way of replacing multiple teeth.
The choice is highly dependent on your individual circumstance and should be discussed with your dentist. There are many factors to be considered, including:
If you are missing a tooth, take the first step to book a consultation with our Surrey dentists at Vivant Dental in the Panorama area.
You’re missing a tooth that you want to replace. Perhaps you’re undecided about your final treatment plan, or perhaps you’ve made up your mind, but it will be a while before you can proceed with an implant or bridge. What can be done in the meantime to fill that space? One common option is to mask the missing space by wearing a removable acrylic denture (aka a flipper). Another option is an “Essix” appliance.
If you’ve come across Invisalign orthodontic treatment, Essix retainers may already look familiar. Essix retainers are clear, removable trays that fit over the upper or lower teeth. In situations where there are missing teeth, tooth-coloured filling material can be added inside the tray where teeth are missing. When you wear the Essix appliance, your missing teeth are filled in by the material in the tray, making it look like the teeth are actually there. The shade of the filling material can be selected to blend with your adjacent teeth for a more esthetic result.
Essix trays require some stable teeth in the mouth for support, so this is not a solution for everyone with missing teeth. Book an appointment with one of our dentists to determine if an Essix retainer is right for you. If Dr. Chow or Dr. Bellusci determines that your teeth are suitable for this appliance, then impressions are taken of your teeth at our office in Surrey to make the clear customized tray(s). The appliance will be tried in at your second appointment. The fit of the appliance is checked and adjusted, if necessary. Freezing and drilling of teeth are usually not required.
It’s important to understand that these appliances are there primarily for esthetics. These trays do wear over time with use, and they should also not be worn while eating and drinking.