Why should I replace missing teeth?
Your appearance is one reason. Another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can put a greater strain on the teeth at either side. A gap can also affect your ‘bite’ because the teeth next to the space can lean into the gap, changing the way your upper and lower teeth bite together. This can then lead to food getting packed into the gap, which causes decay and gum disease.
How are missing teeth replaced?
It depends on the number of teeth missing, where they are in the mouth and the condition of the other teeth. 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’s 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 clasps to help keep the denture in place in the mouth. Depending on where they are, some of these clasps may show when you smile or open your mouth.
What’s the difference between a plastic and a metal partial denture?
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. They 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.