Replacing Missing Teeth

Teeth need to be completely replaced with they are broken beyond repair or knocked out in an accident or fall. When this unfortunate situation arises, there are several options that may work for you. Be prepared to discuss these possible options with your dentist to determine which will work best for you.

Partial or Full Dentures

Partial and full dentures may be the best way to go when you need to replace more than one tooth. A partial denture is one or multiple artificial teeth in a removable prostheses. It has a clasp at each end that wraps around the natural tooth to hold it in place.

A full denture replaces all of your upper or lower teeth. Full dentures hold tight to your gums with suction. If you decide to go with full dentures, your dentist will make a model of your jaw to have “immediate” dentures made. After he or she has your immediate dentures in hand, your dentist will extract your teeth and put the immediate dentures in place. They allow you to chew your food for the next 6 months or so while your gums heal. They are necessary as your gums will shrink a bit after they heal. Your permanent full dentures will be made for you after your gums heal.

You must remove full and partial dentures each night and clean them thoroughly. They must be gently brushed and rinsed. Your gums also need to be cleaned with a soft toothbrush or a wet piece of gauze wrapped around your finger.

Health Canada recommends that you “Soak them overnight, in denture cleaner or warm water.”

Bridges

Bridges are permanent false teeth that are used to replace one or more teeth. The teeth on either side of the gap must be strong and healthy enough to hold the false tooth, or teeth, in place. The procedure is similar to the procedure for a crown or cap. The teeth on either side of the gap are ground down and the dentist makes a mold. He or she will order the bridge and put a temporary bridge in place. During the next visit, your dentist will replace the temporary bridge with the permanent one. With proper care, it should last for 10 years or more.

The Canadian Dental Association says, “Like natural teeth, bridges need to be brushed and flossed every day.”

Implants

Implants are done when you need a bridge but you do not have strong, healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. They can also be done to hold a set of upper or lower false teeth in place, if you don’t want to be bothered with a full or partial denture.

“Maryland” or resin-bonded bridges are used to replace front teeth.

“Cantilever” bridges are done when there is a strong, healthy tooth on one side of the gap.

When you get implants, a post is surgically implanted through your gums into your jawbone. The bridge is then affixed to the post. It is, basically, a permanent denture. You must brush and care for it just like your natural teeth.

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