Want To Replace Missing Teeth? Talk To Us About Tooth Replacement Options In West Auckland
Teeth can be lost for various reasons from tooth decay through to trauma (accidents). The end result is a loss of function, worse appearance and loss of support to the surrounding teeth, which will cause further tooth loss later on. At the end of this guide we will discuss options to replace entire groups of teeth.
Tooth Replacement Options
The options to replace one to three missing teeth are the same regardless of the cause. These fall into three main categories.
- Implant supported crown (Intra osseous implant).
- Tooth (or implant) supported Bridge.
- Removable partial denture (Implant or tooth supported).
Each tooth replacementoption has advantages and disadvantages. We need to find out which are an option for you and together develop a plan to replace your missing tooth or teeth.
- Implant supported crown
This is usually the ideal way to replace missing teeth. It is the only technique which truly does replace the entire tooth as it also replaces the root of the tooth which has been lost. Other techniques only replace the top of the missing tooth, meaning they are "fake teeth" in comparison to an implant supported crown.
Implants can only be placed into healthy mouths with stable gums. We will check your whole mouth first and provide a plan to get you stable if needed.
The next step is to visit a dental specialist called a Periodontist. They will provide the "fixture" which is a titanium anchor that fuses into your jaw where the root of the tooth used to be. This is normally placed under sedation. It is a remarkably gentle and pain free process with little to no post operative pain. If needed, we will make a temporary tooth for you.
After at least four months (yes implants are a slow process) the fixture receives a final check. If it has integrated into the jaw successfully (normally it does, bone loves titanium) we are ready to make the new permanent tooth.
A simple set of impressions are taken of the implant and opposing teeth, these are sent to a laboratory who make up a new tooth which is then attached to the implant, about two weeks later.
Implant and crown components
Implant in place next to teeth
- Tooth Supported Bridge
If there are large healthy teeth on either side of a gap you can consider a dental bridge.
The teeth are prepared as for dental crowns, impressions are taken and sent to a laboratory who fabricate the bridge from very strong and lifelike materials.
This is bonded to the supporting teeth at a second appointment.
Bridges are a good idea in a patient over 45, who has sound but heavily filled teeth on either side of a gap. They often cause trouble after 15 to 20 years so are not recommended in a younger person. In the front of the mouth, a bridge sometimes only requires one tooth to attach to.
The cost of a bridge is around 2/3 that of a dental implant, so we would always encourage you to consider the implant if possible. Implantsare stand alone and do not rely on supporting teeth for their survival.
Bridge ready to insert over supporting teeth
Bridge ready to insert over Dental Implants
- Removable Partial denture
Partial Dentures are an option to replace teeth when either of the previous options are not a possibilty, due to cost or health factors.
Partial dentures are removable and more bulky than implants and bridges as they are held together and supported by a framework. There is less stability gained by wearing a partial denture, it relies on the underlying gums and remaining teeth for support.
They can however be used to replace multiple missing teeth at once. Higher end partial dentures (chrome/metal partial dentures) can be attached to teeth securely with clasps or better still precision attachments. These can be remarkably stable and acceptable replacements for missing teeth in an otherwise healthy mouth.
Plastic partial dentures, especially flexible (e.g. Valplast) partial dentures are referred to as "Gum Strippers" in the dental profession, due to their habit of damaging the gums of the wearer. The ideal partial denture to aim for is a chrome denture with stable rests on healthy remaining teeth.
Partial dentures can be stabilised by placing dental implants and providing a ball and socket clip to attach denture to implant.
Plastic Partial Denture, note wire clasps (clips)
Chrome Partial Denture on Plaster cast of mouth.
Very stable and rigid. Teeth have "rest seats" which support the denture when chewing rather than pushing denture into gums.
-Restoring entire arches (upper and/or lower)
When all teeth have been lost in the upper or lower jaw (or both), full dentures are necessary.
Traditionally full dentures are full cover plastic prosthetic teeth held in place by a pink plastic framework. The full upper denture relies on suction provided by full palatal coverage and is usually quite successful but bulky. The Full lower denture is held in place by gravity and the wearers muscles (cheeks and tongue). These are often less well tolerated by the wearer.
If possible, it is much better to place dental implants under full lower dentures in particular. This allows them to be clipped in place. People who have "upgraded" to this usually report a vast improvement.
We also provide expert dental services such as Dental Check Ups, Children's Dentistry, Professional Teeth Whitening, Sedation Dentistry and Emergency Dental Services to West Auckland communities including Mt Roskill and New Lynn.