Missing a single tooth can be a result of traumatic injury or a birth-related abnormality. It can also occur due to dental caries (tooth decay) or a failed dental procedure. The missing tooth can be replaced with various options such as fixed partial dentures, resin-bonded bridge, fixed bridge or single dental implants. The best option for single tooth replacement is a single dental implant with ceramic crown.
Single dental implant procedure: Your dentist will examine your teeth with the help of X-rays and prepare for the procedure. An implant will be inserted into the jaw bone with a temporary tooth placed over it. After the implant bonds with the jaw bone, a permanent ceramic tooth called a crown will be placed on the implant and will immediately start functioning as one of your natural teeth.
Other alternatives include:
- Tooth-supported fixed bridge
This procedure involves reducing the adjacent two teeth to place crowns which will support the bridge with the false tooth between them. It is easy to install and provides good aesthetic appeal.
- Removable partial denture
The partial denture is made of plastic and is removable, but is a temporary option.
- Resin-bonded bridge
This type of bridge can be installed quickly and provides a high aesthetic appeal. It consists of a metal framework with wings that attach to the back of the adjacent teeth with a false tooth bonded to the framework. The downside is the resin-bonded bridge may fall off and need replacement after a few years.
Loss of several teeth can induce lack of confidence and aesthetic appeal. Multiple tooth loss can also lead to many oral health problems such as gum disease, tooth damage and issues of misalignment. Various options to replace multiple teeth include:
Multiple single-tooth implant restoration involves insertion of an implant into the jawbone to replace the tooth root. When this heals, an abutment is added which is covered by a crown.
Conventional Removable partial denture (RPD): This denture can be removed daily to allow for cleaning of teeth. It consists of a metal framework, denture teeth and acrylic.
Removable partial denture with implants: The implant used increases stability and support and prevents display of the metal framework such as with conventional RPD.
Fixed partial denture: Two teeth on either side of the missing tooth/teeth is reduced for the placement of crowns which will be connected to the artificial teeth between them for support. Replacement may be required in future.
If you are missing a full arch of teeth either in the upper or lower jar, or both, there is a permanent solution where you do not have to wear removable dentures. A full arch replacement involves insertion of implants to replace the missing teeth in one or both jaws. A fixed bridge is then anchored to the dental implants as a permanent solution for a full arch replacement. The number of implants required will depend on the anatomy of the oral cavity, the type of bridge, presence of opposing teeth and number of teeth required to be replaced.
Installation of the implants to replace the lost teeth roots is the first step. While the implants heal, your dentist will place a temporary fixed-bridge which will allow you to perform activities such as smiling, chewing and speaking without the need for removable dentures. When the implants have healed, your dentist will attach the permanent bridge over the implants. This may take a couple dental visits to complete depending on your situation. With the permanent bridge in place, it is difficult to tell the difference from natural teeth and many patients report extreme satisfaction with the results.