Why should I replace missing teeth?
Your appearance is one reason. Another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can mean greater strain is put on the teeth at either side. A gap can also mean that your ‘bite’ is affected, because the teeth next to the space can lean into the gap and alter the way the upper and lower teeth bite together. This can then lead to food getting packed into the gap, which causes both decay and gum disease.
How are missing teeth replaced?
This depends on the number of teeth missing and on where they are in the mouth. The condition of the other teeth also affects the decision. There are two main ways to replace the missing teeth. This first is with a removable false tooth or teeth – a partial denture. The second is with a fixed bridge. A bridge is usually used where there are fewer teeth to replace, or when the missing teeth are only on one side of the mouth.
What is a partial denture?
This is a plate with a number of false teeth on it. It may be al plastic or a mixture of metal and plastic. Both types may have clips (clasps), to help keep the denture in place in the mouth. Depending on where they are, some of these clips may show when you smile or open your mouth.
What is the difference between a plastic partial denture and one that contains metal?
Plastic partial dentures are less expensive to make. But unless they are designed very carefully they can damage the teeth they fit against. Metal partial Dentures are usually from an alloy of cobalt and chromium and they are much stronger. They are lighter to wear and can be supported by the remaining teeth. Although the base is metal, they have gum-coloured plastic and natural-looking teeth fixed to them. They are more expensive than the plastic ones.
How do I choose the best type of denture for me?
Be guided by your dentist. He o rshe will know the condition of your remaining teeth and will be able to advise you on your individual situation. In most cases a metal-based partial denture gives the best result.
The general rule is: brush, soak, brush. Always clean your dentures over a bowl of water or a folded towel in case you drop them. Brush your dentures before soaking, to help remove any food debris. The use of an effervescent denture cleaner will help remove stubborn stains and leave your denture feeling fresher – always follow the manufacturers’ instructions – then brush the dentures again, as you would your own teeth, being careful not to scrub too hard as this may cause grooves in the surface.
We advise using a small to medium headed toothbrush and mild detergent. Make sure you clean all the surfaces of the dentures, including the surface which comes into contact with your gums. This is especially important if you use any kind of denture fixative. If you notice a build up of stains or scale, have your denture cleaned by your dentist or hygienist.
We would recommend to leave your dentures out at night to give your mouth a chance to rest. If you remove your dentures it is important to leave them in water to prevent any warping or cracking.
The main alternative is a fixed bridge. This is made by putting crowns on the teeth at either side of the space and then joining these two crowns together by placing a false tooth in the space. This is all made in the laboratory and then cemented into place with special adhesives. The bridge cannot be removed for cleaning. Another option is an adhesive bridge. This has wings that are bonded to the back of the supporting teeth with very little drilling involved.