Hello, few of us will make it through life with a full set of 32 teeth. By age 50, the average Nigerian has lost from one tooth to ten permanent teeth to decay, gum disease, or injury.
Unless you’re five (5) years old, losing a tooth is never a happy affair. Once your adult teeth grow in, you shouldn’t be losing teeth because you would certainly not get a new one if they fall out of the mouth due to disease or if they are knocked out by trauma/ accident.
To compensate for the loss and to restore the teeth to function and aesthetics, you will need to look at some other options besides just keeping a gaping hole in your smile like someone whose name we can’t mention.
Losing one or more of your teeth can cause undesirable effects to your smile, speech, appearance, bite, weaken your jaw bone and your overall oral health. You will need to talk with an experienced dentist to understand the best option for your particular circumstance. However, here are three options you will likely want to consider:
The good news however is that it is possible to fill the missing tooth/teeth spaces with artificial teeth such as Dentures, Bridges & Implants which are also functional and similar to the lost tooth/teeth.
These are called prostheses which are artificial appliances fabricated to replace missing or lost teeth and their supporting structures.
THE AVAILABLE OPTIONS INCLUDE:
- A dental Implant
A Dental Implant is a device inserted into or on the jaw bone to anchor an artificial tooth or denture. A dental implant serve as a substitute placed in the jaw to replace the root of a lost tooth. Dental implants are the most preferred option of replacing a missing tooth for many. They are permanently inserted directly into the jawbone, and they look exactly like thee natural teeth
The benefits of dental implants are many;
They look real and reliable and function just as your natural teeth.
So, patients don’t have to bother about the replacement becoming loose or moving out of place while eating or talking, and you can confidently sleep with it in your mouth. There is also an evidence of low risk of gum disease when compared to other available options.
Just take care of the implant like your natural teeth as you brush and floss regularly.
The shortcoming of using an implant is that it is the most expensive option of tooth replacement. However, its durability makes the cost worth it to many patients over time. Also, it requires minor oral surgery to sink the inert metal into the bone
The implant material is usually a metal or alloy which is bio-compatible. It feels and looks like the natural tooth because it is placed in the original (natural) tooth positions.
- A Dental Bridge (fixed partial denture)
A dental bridge is a partial prosthesis fitted permanently to one or more prepared natural teeth or implants. It occupies the space of the natural teeth it replaces. It restores chewing and biting efficiency, appearance, speech. The most common type of bridge consists of a replacement placed between two crowns that are anchored on adjacent teeth or implants. These are usually fixed and cannot be removed.
It is the truth that a lot of people use partial dentures to replace a few missing teeth thus, one does not need to be an old person to wear dentures. This type of partial denture is called a “fixed bridge” and it rely on the two teeth surrounding the missing tooth (or teeth) to anchor the unit as one joined entity.
The advantages of a fixed/full partial denture are:
Dental bridges also look and act like natural teeth in many ways like implant and are less expensive as compared to an implant. It requires no surgery at all.
The downside to the fixed bridge is that it can damage the surrounding teeth and the jawbone. Over time, it can wear on the teeth and bones, causing decay and damage. You may then have to get even more teeth replaced or have more dental surgery in the long run.
- Removable Partial/Full Denture
This is an appliance that is used to replace missing tooth/teeth and it is made to look almost indistinguishable from natural teeth and gums.
They are fabricated in the laboratory and enables you to chew, talk, and give support to the lips, chin and cheeks, and improvement self-esteem especially if this has been affected due to tooth loss.
A removable partial denture is built in much the same way as a fixed bridge, but instead of being permanently attached to the surrounding teeth, most times, it has a couple of metal clasps to hold onto the teeth and keep it in place. It is worthy of note to also say that removable full denture and sometimes some partial denture are naturally designed to have retention, firmly secured to the jaw bone
Of the three options, the removable partial/full denture is the least expensive.
However, it also contributes to the greatest susceptibility to tooth decay and gum disease. Over time, the jawbone may deteriorate and the surrounding teeth usually become loose, creating additional problems.
Many people also find the removable partial denture to be uncomfortable and to not offer consistent performance. It can feel loose at times or just not fit right, and that will make your mouth uncomfortable or make it harder to eat.
The only way to know the right option for you is to talk to your dentist about the ways that each will specifically affect your dental situation. However, in most cases, most people find that dental implants offer the most advantages and are well-worth the minor surgery and additional upfront expenses.
In conclusion a proper assessment by your dentist will help determine the best option for you to have a tooth replacement