You can lose a tooth at any age through trauma, rough sports, gum disease or advanced tooth decay. The space that is left needs to be filled for the following reasons,
- A missing tooth can alter your smile and appearance.
- Adjacent teeth to the gap can lean into the space and alter the way the upper and lower teeth bite together.
- Speech can be affected.
- The shape of your face can change when you lose a tooth due to loss of bone.
- Gum disease and tooth decay can occur as a result of food accumulating in the gap.
The most common ways of replacing a missing tooth or teeth are Bridges, Dental Implants and Dentures.
Dentures are removable replacements for your teeth that are designed to look and function as closely to your own natural teeth and surrounding gum tissues. Technology has improved the look and feel of dentures so that they can appear very natural.
Dentures can be used to replace a single missing tooth, a full arch or both upper and lower arches. Full upper and lower dentures are usually made from an acrylic material and rely on suction between the gum ridge and the acrylic surface to keep the dentures in place. The careful design and manufacture are vital to provide good fit and function. However there are some people that cannot get used to wearing dentures and feel worried when they eat or speak, this can cause a lack of confidence, so a solution to this could be to have a dental implant to anchor the denture into place, which can be done in the upper and lower arch.
Partial dentures can be fitted when some teeth are retained in either the upper or lower arch. These are often made out of chrome and acrylic for strength and to clip around existing teeth. When a partial denture is fitted oral hygiene is very important, great care has to be taken that food does not get lodged around the natural teeth which can cause gum disease.
For both full and partial dentures the procedure is the same, the dentist will take impressions in surgery of both upper and lower arches. These are then sent to a technician who will make models on which the denture will be designed and made. There are two stages between impressions and the fitting of the denture, these are checking and setting of the bite and trying a mock up of the denture in wax with teeth attached for aesthetics, lip position and final bite.