Filling the Gaps of Missing Teeth

I have missing teeth what can I fill the gap with?

Before and after of missing teeth and the impact on appearance
Quality of life is incredibly important to us all and so is our appearance. However, there will be many of us finding it embarrassing to smile or even enjoy our food because of missing teeth. This can have an effect on our social and work life reducing our personal potential, impact and confidence.

There can also be some hidden consequences of missing teeth that you may not have thought of. Despite this, there are many options to choose from that can help get you smiling again with confidence! A dentist can discuss the possibilities with you to find out what will be the most suitable treatment. Your options may depend on how many teeth are missing, where they are missing and the health of your other teeth and bone.

So what can we do with our missing teeth?

Do nothing

This is definitely the cheapest option in the short term but may end up being more expensive in the long run. Straight after you have had a tooth out or lost one, the effects are minimal. However, the problem lies in the after-effects of missing teeth. The teeth either side of the missing one can drift to try and touch each other which can trap food in-between. This can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can cause permanent damage. Drifting of teeth also changes the way they meet and can make chewing difficult while putting strain on your jaw. Over time, our body removes the bone where the tooth used to be as it is no longer needed. This process is call bone resorption and can make it more difficult to replace the missing tooth.

Picture showing the resorption and drifting of teeth that can happen if a missing tooth is not replaced

X-ray showing resorption and drifiting that can be caused by not replacing missing teeth
Some resorption and drifting

A denture can either replace all you teeth or just a few and is called a partial denture. The dentist would take impression of your mouth to make sure that it will fit correctly and they will match it to the colour of your natural teeth. Some dentures can be made to blend in very well so that others won’t even notice it! The tooth’s usually made of plastic (acrylic), the rest can be made from plastic, metal or a mixture of both. It’s important that you choose the right type for you as there are quite a few different types and prices. Finding a dentist that offers all the different options may be better so always ask what they can offer.

Picture of some missing front teeth
Missing teeth
Same person with the missing teeth replaced by a denture
Denture to replace missing teeth
Fixed Bridge

A bridge is made by preparing one or both of the teeth either side of the gap to make them smaller so that a crown can fit over them. The replacement tooth is then attached to the crown and suspends between the gap. This can only be done if the teeth either side of the gap are healthy and can take the weight of supporting the missing tooth. Again impressions will need to be taken and it will be colour matched to your other teeth. A temporary bridge will be fitted for the time it takes for the laboratory to make your permanent bridge. Once it comes back from the lab, about two weeks later it will be cemented into place.

You should be aware that looking after the bridge is very important. Keeping it clean and getting it checked regularly by your dentist will help it last as long as possible. Not all bridges will last the rest of your life and should the teeth crumble under the bridge you may end up losing more teeth requiring a longer bridge, a denture or implants. Again it is very important that your dentist explains and discusses with you all the different types of bridge available so that you end up with one that can last you for many years.

Missing teeth replaced with a fixed bridge

Dental Implants

Implants are the next best thing to having your own teeth back and can be placed by a qualified dentist. As it’s a very complex procedure, it’s likely to be the most expensive and not everyone will be suitable. The implant is placed by putting a screw into the jawbone just like a tooth would be sat in the jaw. This then needs to heal and the bone can actually grow around the screw as it is made from titanium.  After about 3-6 months on average, a crown is either cemented or screwed onto the top.

Dental implants also look the most like a real tooth and usually only a dentist can tell it is there. Implants can also be used to fix a bridge or denture so you do not need to remove the denture. Not all dentists can offer this option so you may find that your dentist will refer you to an implantologist or a local dentist that can do this procedure for you.

X-ray image of in implant replacing a missing tooth showing the screw in the jaw bone

Picture of the same implant but in the mouth replacing the missing tooth

You can have a look as some of the costs of these treatments here at New Street Dental Care. If you would like more information then please do not hesitate to call us on 012964301301 or email and our friendly staff can help.