Not only can missing teeth be painful and embarrassing, but they can also cause serious damage to your jawbone and your other teeth. We can help! Your dentist in Kelowna Dr. Malfair wants you to Love Your Smile, and that includes replacing and restoring missing teeth.
Why Replace Lost Teeth?
It is very important to replace teeth you have lost for the following reasons:
- Visible gaps in your smile are unsightly. You may smile less and your confidence may be decreased.
- Multiple missing teeth can make speech more difficult.
- Every lost tooth means that the remaining teeth need to share that extra chewing load. This can cause them to fail earlier than they otherwise would.
- A minimum number of teeth that connect together are required to support your jaw joints and chew properly. TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders) and poor nutrition can result from too many lost teeth.
- The jaw bone shrinks where teeth are lost often making replacement more difficult as time goes by. If too many teeth are lost and the entire jaw shrinks, then your lower face can look shorter vertically giving you an older appearance.
There are many practical reasons to replace missing teeth, but above all, we believe that restoring your full smile will help you love your smile again!
Replacement Options for Missing Teeth
We offer the following options to replace missing teeth and fill gaps.
- Implant supported teeth.
- Partial dentures.
Bridgework helps fill spaces well by joining teeth together over a gap. A dental bridge can fill in one tooth space or several with fairly natural looking teeth. A bridge is cemented in so it is permanently attached to your teeth. They don’t move around or come out. The only cons to bridgework are:
- The teeth on either side of the gap need extensive dental work. This isn’t a problem if they already have a crown or big fillings but can be an issue if they never have had dental work done on them.
- The bite force of the missing tooth or teeth are shared by the remaining natural teeth under the bridge increasing the stress on them.
- Bridges are tricky to floss as you have to thread floss underneath the gap tooth. This is very important as bridges on natural teeth can be prone to decay in those spots that only floss gets into.
- Because the teeth are connected together, the bridge can look a bit bulkier and less defined than natural teeth.
Bridgework has been a mainstay in dentistry for many decades and can be white porcelain or gold. Dental plans usually cover them and bridgework can appear quite authentic and last for years without causing the wear and tear on the surrounding gums and teeth.
Single Tooth Replacement with an Implant Crown
An implant-supported crown is an excellent option for filling a single tooth gap in your smile! Dental implant supported crowns are usually the most cost-effective solution over time for you because they can last up to the rest of your life!
Some advantages of dental implant crowns include the following:
- The crowns are more impervious to cavities.
- The surrounding teeth remain untouched. This is especially important if the teeth on either side of the gap have no fillings.
- The crowns support themselves when chewing, so other teeth don’t get an increased load.
- They maintain the bone and gums around them much like natural teeth do.
- They look great as the teeth are separate.
- They are easier to maintain by flossing.
- They are usually the longest lasting choice.
Dr. Malfair and our highly trained staff in Kelowna have been placing and restoring dental implants since 2006 and are educated in associated grafting techniques. We can usually do all the work from start to finish here in our office!
This option is a very cost-effective method of restoring a youthful smile when you are missing one or several teeth. This solution has been offered by dentists and denturists for a long time.
While your smile may look much better with this choice, your chewing ability may be an issue and you may find them unstable, bulky and/or loose. A removable partial denture holds into your mouth by having clasps and relying on friction to hold onto your teeth. This friction over time can wear down your teeth and gums where the rubbing occurs when chewing.
A Denture is a very cost-effective and great looking option for replacing teeth when all the teeth in one jaw are lost or need to be removed. Dentists and denturists have offered dentures for a long time. Problems with dentures include:
- Difficulty chewing hard foods.
- Concern about the denture coming out when you least expect it.
- Anxiety of being seen without your denture.
- Difficulty speaking.
- Eventual loss of jawbone resulting in a short lower part of your face and an older appearance.
These concerns are more pronounced with lower dentures than upper dentures.
Implant Supported Teeth
Implant supported teeth cover a lot of different options and address the problems of traditional dentures. The implants serve to fix teeth in place so you get all these benefits:
- Chewing function and speech is restored. These will work much like teeth.
- Your teeth are very stable and only are removable by a dentist.
- You will never be without your teeth.
- The jawbones are maintained so the lower part of the face doesn’t shrink to the same degree as with traditional dentures.
If you are considering implant supported teeth, there are a wide array of these solutions including:
- Full dentures secured with ‘snaps’ like shirt snaps to several implants so you can remove these to clean them yourself.
- Full arches of teeth—MUCH smaller than a denture—that are attached to 4-6 implants and made of a variety of materials including zirconia, acrylic, and porcelain. These include options like Teeth in a Day and the All-on-4 Treatment Concept solutions.