Replacing a Missing Tooth

Techniques for replacing missing teeth

Most people will lose a tooth or two during their lifetime. This may be the result of caries, trauma, gum disease or many other reasons. Even those that take excellent care of their teeth and keep regular dental appointments may suffer the misfortune of requiring a tooth to be removed. Thankfully, there are a number of methods available to replace them.

Dentures

Dentures, or 'false teeth' as they are sometimes referred to, can be used to replace a full arch of teeth or simply, as a partial denture, to replace a single missing tooth. They are usually made from acrylic or a combination of acrylic and metal.

Resin Bonded Bridged

Resin bonded bridges are a specific type of false tooth which uses the adjacent teeth for anchorage to support a missing tooth/teeth. They rely on the strength of the cement used and the natural teeth that are present. Teeth move during the chewing process, and as a result Maryland bridges can sometimes lose their retention and dislodge. Fortunately, they can be recemented back into place.

Resin bonded bridges have many uses, in that they can be used as permanent or interim gap closure options. For example, they can be used as part of treatment plans which include Orthodontic Treatments, Dental Implant Treatments, and after an extraction of a tooth if a patient does not wish to wear a denture.

They involve a minimal tooth surface preparation (in some cases) and an impression is taken and supplied to the laboratory to make a resin bonded bridge. This is then fitted at a subsequent appointment.

Fixed Bridges

A fixed bridge was routinely the most common fixed restoration to replace a missing tooth. However, this method of gap closure has been less frequently done by most dentists, since the popularity of dental implants has grown. It has been frowned upon, as the process of fixed bridges involves the destruction of healthy tooth tissue to support the bridge. In other words, if we have a missing tooth, then the healthy tooth on either side of the gap is strategically trimmed down to accommodate a laboratory fabricated bridge. Impressions are taken for the laboratory to fabricate a bridge which joins the missing tooth to one tooth on either side., thereby allowing the gap to be closed. It is viewed nowadays that the cost vs. benefit weighs in favour of dental implants, as the cost of a dental implant is almost equal to the price of a dental implant, and without any tooth destruction. In some cases, dental implants are cheaper than bridges. Please refer to the Dental Implants section for further information.

The tooth destruction is the very reason that most NHS dentists will nowadays not be able to clinically justify the provision of a bridge under the NHS, especially if dentures and implants are alternate options to consider.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are precision milled titanium screw-like devices, which are placed into the jawbone where a tooth/teeth are missing. Read more about use of dental implants to replace missing teeth on our dental implants page.

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