Options For Replacing A Single Missing Tooth at Dr Sajan’s Victoria BC Dental Clinic
There are a number of functional, aesthetic and overall health related reasons for replacing a missing tooth. Missing teeth reduces your ability to chew your food. Food can get caught in the space during eating, which means that it is not being chewed as well as it should be. This poorly chewed food can put a strain on your digestive system in an attempt to digest the food. Over time, this can cause digestive and lack of nutrient issues.
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Why Is It Important To Replace A Missing Tooth?
Aside from the obvious aesthetic reasons for replacing missing teeth, there are a number of functional and overall health related reasons for replacing a missing tooth.
Missing a tooth reduces your chewing ability. Food can get caught in the space during eating, which means that it is not being chewed as well as it should be. This food can put a strain on your digestive system in an attempt to digest the food. Over time, this can cause digestive issues.
When a tooth is removed, the bone that used to hold in the tooth is no longer functioning. Over time, this bone will resorb, leaving you with a shorter area of bone. This can cause weakness in that area of the bone. The reduced height of the bone can also affect the level of the bone on the teeth around the one that was extracted. This means that you may notice bone loss, recession and sensitivity on those teeth.
Single Tooth Replacement Options at our Victoria BC Dental Clinic:
Implants usually provide the most aesthetic and longest lasting restoration choice for a single missing tooth. At our office, we refer the placement of the implant to a gum specialist. The final crown that goes on top is completed in our office.
Implants are titanium studs that are placed in the bone. The titanium stud then has a specialized cover placed on it. The implant will need to stay in the bone, undisturbed for 3-4 months. During this time, there will be no tooth on the implant. A temporary partial denture (a flipper), or an essex retainer (mouthguard with a tooth added in the toothless area) can be made if aesthetics are a concern. Once the implant is healed and fully integrated in to the bone, an impression will be done at our office. This impression is then sent to the lab, and the specialized cover is replaced. The lab requires approximately 3 weeks in order to make your final implant crown.
When the implant crown has arrived, we will remove the specialized cover and place an abutment (a small peg that fits in to the implant, which will connect the final crown to the implant). We will confirm the fit, and then do the same with the implant crown.
The implant tooth requires the same home care as your natural teeth (daily brushing and flossing).
A bridge is the other option for a fixed (non-removable) prosthesis. They provide good esthetics and function. Bridges can be placed on 2 natural teeth or 2 implant teeth, but not from a natural tooth to an implant. They can be used to replace a single tooth, or multiple teeth.
A bridge is made by preparing the teeth on either side of the toothless space. The teeth are reduced by approximately 1-1.5mm. This reduction provides room for a custom made crown (cap) to be fitted on those teeth without interfering with your bite. Between these custom fit caps, a tooth is inserted that is connected to both caps. This creates a single piece of material that covers the prepared teeth and provides a prosthetic tooth in the middle. Since it is a single piece, floss does not pass through between the teeth in this area, so flossing aids are required for flossing.
From the time the teeth are prepared, the lab requires approximately 3 weeks to prepare a bridge, during which time you will be fitted for a temporary bridge in our office. Once the final bridge has arrived, we confirm the fit and permanently cement the bridge.
Partial dentures are the most economical way to replace a missing tooth. They can be used to replace a single missing tooth, or multiple missing teeth. They are a removable prosthesis, meaning that they can be put in and removed by the patient.
A partial denture is made by taking a series of impressions at our office. These impressions are sent to a lab, where a denture is made within 1 week (for a single tooth). The patient is then brought back to the office where any adjustments that are needed are made and the patient is able to leave with the denture.
The drawbacks to a partial denture for a single tooth is that, because it is removable, it is not as stable as the fixed options. The partial denture also does not have the strength, and thus, the longevity of the other options. Partial dentures for the top also require the covering of some of the roof of the mouth (the palate). This can cause some alterations in speech and taste. The single tooth partial denture, also known as a flipper, is usually used as an interim prosthesis, until a more long term solution can be made.
The partial denture (as with all dentures) needs to be removed for 8 hours a day (most people choose during sleep). This gives the tissues a chance to ‘breathe’ and stay healthy.