There are good reasons why missing teeth should be replaced. your appearance is one, another is that the gap left by a missing tooth can mean greater strain is put on the teeth at each 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.
There are two main ways to replace missing teeth. the first is with a removable false tooth or teeth – a partial denture. the second is with a fixed bridge – usually used when there are fewer teeth to replace, or when the missing teeth are only on one side of the mouth.
A partial denture is a plate with a number of false teeth on it. It may be all plastic or a mixture of metal and plastic. both types may have retaining clips (clasps), to help keep the denture in place in the mouth.
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 stronger, lighter to wear and can be supported by the remaining teeth.
The main alternative to a partial denture is a fixed bridge. This is made by constructing crowns on the teeth at either side of the space, which are then joined together by placing a false tooth in the space. This is all made in the laboratory and then the pieces are cemented into place with special adhesives.
Whatever treatment you will need will require an assessment to ascertain the right option for you. Treatment may be more expensive if only certain options are available, dependent on the state of your teeth.
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