What are my options for replacing missing teeth?

Many people living in the Euston area of London come to our dental  practice in UCL wanting to replace their missing teeth, it’s a conversation we have often and so we thought it would be a good idea to write a blog post to help these people out.

So, what are your options if you have missing teeth?

There are 4 different ways to go about solving this particular problem:

  1. Do nothing and live with the space
  2. Dentures.
  3. Dental implants.
  4. Dental bridges.

Do Nothing

Whilst this is a very valid option in many instances there are a few problems associated with doing nothing and leaving the space, these problems are:

  1. The bone where the tooth has been extracted will resorb overtime, this resorbtion makes the adjacent teeth look longer as the gum pulls away. This also means that if you wanted a dental implant later on in life there may not be enough bone, or the procedure may be more uncomfortable or costly if bone grafting is required.
  2. The adjacent teeth on either side of the gap will have a tendency to fall into that space, potentially creating problems with your bite.
  3. The opposing teeth on the opposite jaw will have a tendency to over erupt and drift down into the gap, potentially creating problems with your bite again.

Dentures

Often these are the least preferred option for patients as they are removable and you need to be careful when you are eating. They are however an extremely good solution to the problem of missing teeth. Dentures tend to be the most cost-effective option and with modern alternatives can be made to look exceptionally good, most people would never know that you are wearing dentures!

On the subject of dentures to replace missing teeth we recommend that when you clean them you always do this over a sink half filled with water. One of the most common causes of broken dentures is when people drop them into the sink whilst cleaning, if you half fill the sink then this is less likely to happen.

When you have dentures made it is important to opt for a quality dental practice. One of the common causes of problems with dentures is where they do not fit quite as well as they should, they then slip and press on the gum. This results in what is known as ‘gum stripping’ and can result in a loss of the gum around the teeth.

As a patient it is very difficult to know whether this would happen to you, so we recommend you ask your dentist about how they can prevent this problem and support your denture to prevent it slipping.

Dental Implants to replace missing teeth

Of all the options dental implants are generally the more preferred choice, for a number of reasons:

  • Dental implants support the bone and prevent bone resorption
  • Dental implants also do not impact the adjacent teeth, which means you retain more of your healthy dentition
  • Implants can last many years and so can often be the most cost effective option over a period of time.

Many patients around our London dentists have dental implants as they are considered an excellent solution to the problem of missing teeth. A dental implant is a titanium replacement for your natural tooth, with your mouth integrating completely with it you will find that, in most cases, a dental implant becomes an absolutely solid and permanent replacement for a missing tooth.

The surgery for a dental implant is simple and for the most part pain free. Any mild post operative pain can normally be treated with over the counter painkillers.

If you have missing teeth we would strongly urge you to consider dental implants as the preferred option for the reasons mentioned above.

Dental Bridges

These are the final option that we offer from our dental practice in the heart of Euston, London. A dental bridge is made by gently reducing the teeth either side of the gap to accept a new Crown (or commonly called a ‘cap’). With a new crown on the teeth either side of the gap we can suspend a new tooth and join it to these two new crowns, creating a dental bridge made of three components all joined together – the new Crown on either side and the false tooth suspended in the middle.

Dental bridges have been made for many years and are an exceptionally reliable treatment option to replace missing teeth, their biggest drawback is the fact that potentially healthy teeth either side of the space has to be drilled down to accept the new supporting crowns or ‘caps’.

From a financial or cost point of view we also end up having to provide three new teeth, one for each side of space and the tooth to replace the missing one. This can have a cost implication which you may want to consider.

Summary of what your options are to replace missing teeth

When ever possible we would encourage you to take action to replace your missing teeth in order to prevent possible future problems with bone loss in that area and your bite. Only by having a full dental consultation will you be able to know for sure what your best option is, how it will impact you and what the likely costs of replacing missing teeth can be.

The cost of replacing missing teeth

The following prices are given as a guide only as it depends upon your exact clinical situation  with things like your oral health, the presence of existing crowns and bridges, the amount of bone that you have in your jaw  plus several other clinical indicators.

By way of an example here are our fees:

  1. The cost of a dental implant is from £1280.
  2. The cost of a dental bridge to replace one missing tooth with the three components mentioned above is £2370
  3. The cost of a denture is likely to be in the region of £500

Many dental practices in London also offer easy payment options and finance plans, so it is worth checking these out before making a final decision over which dentist you are going to choose.

 

 

Author: Dr Kala Jones

Dr Jones qualified from the Royal London Dental Hospital in 1981 and spent time both in hospital service and general practice before being appointed by University College London in 1985 as one of their dentists. Two years later she was appointed by UCL to become the Principal Dentist and has been managing The Dental Centre for the last 24 years

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *