Missing teeth can affect your appearance as well as your ability to eat and speak properly. In most cases the loss of a single tooth can be addressed fairly easily with a single dental implant or bridge. But for people who have lost all their upper or lower teeth (or both) the solutions aren’t as affordable or convenient. It’s important to discuss your tooth replacement options with your dentist so you can make an informed choice that is a great fit for your lifestyle and budget.
Tooth Replacement Options
- Full-arch dental implants, or ‘New Teeth On 4’. These are an ideal alternative to dentures and are considered to be a permanent solution. The most popular tooth replacement option today, this treatment uses four dental implants inserted into the jawbone to support a custom prosthetic arch of replacement teeth that look, feel and function just like natural teeth – including allowing you to eat any food you want.
- Dental implants. Replace one or several missing teeth by inserting a small titanium post into the missing tooth’s bone socket. The implant is usually topped with a crown to look and feel like a natural tooth and is considered to be a permanent solution. Another benefit is that dental implants help to preserve the jawbone, prevent bone loss caused by missing teeth, and improve your bite by filling out your facial features. The implant acts as a new tooth root and does not need to rely on neighbouring teeth.
- Fixed bridges. Dental bridges are fixed to adjacent healthy teeth to ‘bridge’ the gap caused by a missing tooth or teeth. Although they are less expensive than dental implants and don’t require surgery, they typically have a shorter life span and can be harder to keep clean as food can get caught under the bridge pontic.
- Implant-supported dentures. As an option for replacing all your upper or lower teeth (or both), implant-supported dentures attach to implants which are surgically inserted into your jawbone via metal attachments. They must be removed each night for cleaning and to give the gums a rest. They function more like natural teeth, providing more comfort and confidence, than regular dentures because they are not as likely to become loose.
- Removal partial dentures. These are a removable appliance that rest on a metal framework that attaches to your natural teeth with small clasps. They are an affordable and convenient way to replace some missing teeth and must be removed every night for cleaning.
- Dentures. These are the traditional way of replacing your upper or lower teeth, or both. They are a full arch of teeth that fit with suction over the gums and jawbone. Advanced materials ensure that they now look as realistic as possible, and they are a good option for people whose gums and jaws are too weak or unhealthy to support dental implants.