When you have missing teeth, not only does it affect your smile, it also affects how you eat, and the alignment of your remaining teeth. Once a tooth is lost, the other teeth adjacent to the space left by the missing tooth, will eventually shift. The teeth on either side of the missing tooth space will move and tilt and drift into the missing tooth’s space. This can make these teeth more prone to decay and gum disease because it is much harder to keep the teeth clean when they are not aligned properly.
Missing teeth can lead to loss of jaw bone and support for the facial tissues which can ultimately affect your appearance. Missing teeth can also put undue stress on the remaining teeth leading to accelerated wear and tear, which could result in jaw pain.
What are my treatment options?
The following are three options your dentist may suggest, depending on your needs. Replacement teeth should last for years at a time, so it is important to choose a treatment that’s right for you.
A dental implant is a screw type fixture (resembling a tooth root) made out of titanium. Once surgically placed in the bone, it stimulates bone growth around it and fuses to the bone. Following the implant placement, a crown is constructed and is screwed or cemented on, in order to look like a natural tooth.
Dental implants are recognised as the “gold standard” treatment for replacing a single missing tooth in the front region of the mouth. Placement of an implant to replace a single missing tooth is the least damaging option for the surrounding teeth and gums when compared with dentures or bridge work.
A dental bridge is made by gently reducing the teeth either side of the gap to accept a new Crown. 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.
Often these are the least preferred option for patients as they are removable. However, they are an extremely good solution for 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.
Does it hurt?
There can be some discomfort with different procedures, depending on what is required. Whilst we can’t promise a completely pain free experience, we do our best to talk you through every step along the way and make sure you are comfortable through all treatment. We will ensure that you are completely numb, and stop at any time you need to.
For our patients who are scared or who find it difficult to sit through lengthy treatments, we can offer oral sedation so that they are relaxed on arrival and during treatment.
How much does it cost?
The cost of your treatment will depend on the solution that you and your dentist agree is the best option for you. Once we understand the preferred solution then we can discuss the cost and payment options with you.
If you are a member of BUPA or HBF health funds – we are a preferred provider, so you will maximise your benefit when you make a claim for your treatment. Alternatively, if you have a Centrelink income, you may be entitled to government funding to assist with your treatment, under the Country Dental Health Services scheme.
If you haven’t been to our surgery before we are happy to arrange a 15-minute gap free consultation to do a brief examination of your mouth, and discuss treatment options. At your consultation it is likely that the dentist will recommend a full examination and some x-rays for starters to determine fully what your treatment plan should be.