Replacing Missing Teeth Guide
Your choices after an extraction.
If you are considering having a tooth removed, you need to bear in mind the following points:
- Do you want to have a tooth in that place or not? If you do, and a root filling is indicated, it is sometimes better to try to save a tooth than to replace it. If the root filling is complex, or has been attempted previously, we may need to refer you to a dentist who has a special interest in root fillings.
- If you are sure that you want to have the tooth removed, or it is un-saveable, you will need to choose one of the four following options for the management of the gap which will be created:
1) Dental implants.
Implants often provide the best solution for the replacement of a missing tooth. An implant is the closest thing to a natural tooth that your dentist can provide for you. Implants do not compromise other teeth, as bridges may do, and can provide much better biting power than a denture. Implants can be used to replace any number of missing teeth, provided that there is adequate bone to place them in.
Each implant case is unique, so a customised price is given for each case; the usual cost of a replacing a tooth with a single implant is £2300.
If you are interested in having a dental implant to replace your missing tooth, your dentist will provide you with an implant brochure, which will give more detailed information.
2) To accept the space.
In the short term, this is the simplest and cheapest option. You would have to accept that this option will reduce your eating function, and may cause the teeth either side and opposite the extracted tooth to move, which would make them feel and appear uneven. When teeth move out of their best alignment, not only can they become unsightly, but they are also more prone to decay and gum disease, as they will be harder to clean.
With time, the bone and gums in the area where your tooth is removed will shrink. This shrinkage is quite normal, and will cause the roots of the adjacent teeth to be exposed, causing cosmetic and sensitivity problems. This bony shrinkage over a period of time may make it more difficult to place an implant at a later date.
3) A denture.
A denture is a removable device made of plastic or metal. It will restore some of the function and cosmetics lost with the extraction of a natural tooth. Dentures have the advantages of low cost and easy maintenance, but due to their size and intrusiveness they are often not well tolerated by patients. There is also evidence that some dentures can cause the premature loss of the teeth which are used to support them.
To make a denture usually takes three or four short visits over approximately a month. Partial dentures usually cost in the region of £300-£600; full dentures can cost up to £1500.
4) A bridge.
Bridges come in two types, conventional and adhesive, and both types can restore much of the function and cosmetics which was lost when the tooth was extracted. Conventional bridgework involves cutting down the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth, and uses these teeth to support an extra false tooth. This removal of healthy tooth tissue can often cause the nerve in the prepared tooth to become damaged, resulting in the need for root canal treatment. Adhesive bridgework is minimally invasive compared to conventional bridgework, but as it relies on a dental adhesive to hold the bridge in place, it is not always possible to do this type of bridge in areas where bite forces are high.
To make fixed bridgework usually takes two or three visits over approximately two to four weeks. A bridge involving three teeth, which is the most common design, would cost in the region of £1200-£1400.