What are your options when a front tooth is missing?
14 October 2019
What are your options when a front tooth is missing?
Tooth decay is more common in the teeth at the rear of our mouth than in the front for a number of reasons.
The rear teeth come under significant strain when breaking down and grinding food and they are also more difficult to reach when brushing and flossing.
In general, this brings a greater risk of cavities than for those teeth at the front of the mouth.
While decay can occur in the front teeth, perhaps their biggest threat is damage due to their prominent position. Relatively minor chips and cracks can appear either through biting something too hard or even from a fall or blow to the mouth. Whilst minor restorations carried out at the Confidental Clinic such as cosmetic bonding or tooth coloured fillings can take care of many of the more minor problems; where a significant blow occurs, the tooth could be lost altogether.
What replacement options are available for people who have lost their front teeth?
Unlike a lost rear tooth, where we might be tempted just to leave a gap, although there are lots of good reasons why we don’t recommend this, very few of us will ignore a large gap in our visible ‘social six’ teeth that would be very noticeable to those around us. Because of this, we are left with something of a dilemma as to which of the methods available to replace it would be the most suitable for us.
There are pros and cons to all of these methods and our Surbiton patient’s preferences and individual circumstances will all play a part in determining the right one. Below, we take a look at the three main options available.
This is the best known tooth replacement method and has been one of the most popular for some time. Dentures have improved over time and many now achieve a natural look and offer a greater degree of comfort than in the past. They are also the most affordable option, but this does come at a practical price.
Dentures can never be as secure as a natural healthy tooth or even a dental implant (more on that later). This occasional lack of stability is often a key factor for those who decide against them.
There is little as embarrassing as when you are having a conversation with someone when your front tooth starts to noticeably wobble around. We may be able to laugh this off (or not) when it happens with friends, but it could be a really embarrassing moment if it happens in public or, perhaps, in a business meeting. For these reasons, dentures may not be the first choice for many, even though they are now typically better than they once were.
2. Dental bridge
An alternative to dentures which offers a greater degree of security is the bridge. This consists of a realistic looking replacement artificial tooth, typically attached to two dental crowns which will hold it in place. This method offers a more stable option than a partial denture and will withstand more of the usual daily stresses and strains. Despite this added stability though, there is a negative aspect which deters some patients.
To provide the extra security and stability, a bridge is attached by fixing the crowns to the existing teeth either side of the gap. In order to be able to do this, these teeth have to be prepared and shaped so that the crowns can be attached. So there is a degree of work needed on the healthy adjacent teeth in order to support the bridge in place.
3. Dental implants
The final option is to have a dental implant placed that will replace the missing tooth. This method is unique in that, unlike a bridge or dentures, it doesn’t just replace the actual tooth, but the roots as well. It is this that gives it an excellent level of strength and security. With good care, the replacement tooth will not move around in the mouth and should last for 20 years and often very many more.
This treatment does necessitate a minor surgical procedure that some patients may worry about. It is a highly successful procedure though and, in reality, is no more uncomfortable than many other dental treatments. With just one procedure and sensible ongoing care, you can almost forget about the implant and treat it as you would a natural tooth.
The complexity of this procedure does mean that it is the more expensive option but our low and no interest treatment payment plans can be used to help offset this. Please be sure to ask us about them.
Of the three options, there is little doubt that dental implants offer the most realistic replacement method, not only in appearance but in the way that they offer strength and a natural feel too.
There is much that you can do to avoid losing a front tooth, keeping them clean with regular brushing and flossing and, where the risk of damage is high, such as if you play a contact sport, a mouthguard can be worn to protect them. Ultimately though, whatever preventative measures we might take, we never know when an accident is going to happen. When it does, and there is significant damage or loss of the front teeth, it is good to know that the Confidental Clinic are here to help you to restore your smile!
For an appointment at our Surbiton dental clinic, please call our reception team on 020 8399 1291.