Lost A Front Tooth? What Are Your Options?
Losing a front tooth has an immediate impact on your appearance. Our Addlestone dentists offer advice.
Tooth loss is inevitable with our first, or baby, teeth. This is a natural part of life. Once our adult teeth have come through though, they will be the last natural teeth that we have and need to be looked after.
Generally speaking, it is perhaps the teeth at the rear which are more prone to decay as they do much of the chewing of foods, including sweets, and are also more difficult to keep clean.
Front teeth can also decay of course, and are particularly vulnerable to enamel erosion. Perhaps one of the leading causes of front tooth loss that we see at the Synergy Clinic though is where a tooth has been knocked out.
Whether the loss of a front tooth has been caused by decay or an accident, it still leaves the patient with the dilemma of what to do about it. In today’s blog, we take a look at the options that are available to you.
Leave the gap
This is an option,, but not a good one. For obvious reasons, most people, and especially younger ones, will not want to leave a gap in their front teeth. This gap would be all too obvious when talking, laughing or even smiling. This is likely to cause embarrassment and can even lead to a few speech issues as well which could cause the person to become more withdrawn.
In addition to this; where there is a gap in the teeth, it allows space for other teeth to encroach into and can eventually result in the rest of the teeth becoming crooked and uneven.
This is probably the first thing that comes into most people’s mind when they lose a tooth. It is a well tried and tested solution and, without a doubt, the quality of dentures has improved greatly over the years. Modern dentures offer a reasonably realistic replacement tooth and some offer a flexibility which makes them more comfortable. They are also reasonably affordable and usually require no invasive treatment.
Why then wouldn’t you want to have dentures? The fact is that dentures aren’t for everyone. Some people find that they are unstable and prone to moving around when they are speaking. Because they only replace the crown part of the lost tooth and not the root, they are not as secure as a natural tooth and may cause problems when eating. Some denture wearers deliberately choose their food options around what they ‘can’ eat, rather than what they would ‘like’ to eat. Cleaning dentures can be fiddly too, adding to the inconvenience.
A dental bridge provides a more stable solution than dentures. It does so by securing a false tooth in place through the use of dental crowns that are attached to either side of it. These are attached to the teeth adjacent to the gap left by the missing tooth. Whilst this does offer a more practical and stable solution than dentures, it is an option often declined by patients as the teeth that the crowns are attached to have to be shaped and prepared. Many patients are understandably reluctant to do this to healthy teeth.
The final option is, in our opinion, the most practical and effective one that you can have. Whereas dentures and bridges replace the crown part of a missing tooth, a dental implant replaces it all. In fact, strictly speaking, a dental implant is an artificial tooth root, although people generally refer to it as the whole replacement tooth. It is this artificial tooth root which provides so much benefit and makes this an excellent tooth replacement option. It may require invasive dental surgery but this is a one off treatment and, with good care, the implant that is placed should last for a minimum of twenty years, and quite likely many more.
As the bone into which the implant has been placed grows around it, it secures it firmly in place. When this process (known as osseointegration) has completed, a crown, made to blend in with your natural teeth, will be attached by the dentist at our Addlestone practice. Dental implants not only look natural but feel natural too and, unlike dentures, and to an extent, bridges, they can be kept clean like you do your own natural teeth. There are no fiddly cleaning methods needed, just a good routine of brushing, flossing and routine dental and hygienist visits.
If, after reading this blog post, you are still unsure which would be the best method for you, we are here to help. We can discuss the available options and cost implications with you and enable you to make an informed choice. If you would like to talk to one of our dentists about the gap in your front teeth, or any dental problem in general, please call the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone on 01932 856541.