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  • 2 Maureen Terrace
  • Seaham
  • SR7 7SN

21 / 01 / 2022

Mind the gap

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The best options for filling the space after tooth removal

Losing a tooth is something many of us will experience over our lifetime. It’s only natural to be upset at the thought of this, but the good news is it’s not the end of the world. There are a range of options for filling the gap and the one I recommend most often is dental implants.

The gold standard in tooth replacement

Dental implant procedures have been around for over 50 years and are a proven long-term solution to replacing lost teeth. Not only can they give you greater confidence when smiling and eating, but the implants can also help maintain your natural teeth for longer by sharing the load placed on them.

Our implants are made from biocompatible titanium and are fitted directly into the jawbone to replace the root of the tooth. Porcelain replacement teeth will then be handcrafted to match your existing teeth. It usually takes between three and six months to get your permanent porcelain replacement teeth, however we’ll ensure you’ll never be left with a gap, with temporary tooth solutions available in-between. If you’re missing more than one tooth, implants can be placed and connected together. For example, this means three missing teeth could be joined together by just two dental implants. What’s more, there is no need to cut into adjacent teeth like when fitting a bridge. We’re the only practice in the local area to plan every implant with a CBCT scanner. This state of the art 3D scanner allows us to quickly and precisely position each implant to ensure the procedure is as safe as possible. Sometimes when fitting implants, you may also need some gum or bone replaced. This can be performed with grafting and can all be completed in-house at Seaham Smiles. We also offer both local anaesthetic and IV (intravenous) sedation for all procedures to ensure your comfort throughout.

While the cost of dental implants can seem high initially, as a long-lasting solution the lifetime cost can work out more affordable than you’d think. We also offer a range of finance options, meaning you can have implants fitted for as little as £52.47 a month.

There are also other options to choose from when it comes to filling the gap. Each with their own particular advantages and disadvantages:

Dentures

The simplest way to fill a gap, dentures come in two types – Acrylic and Cobalt Chrome. Acrylic dentures are the most cost effective option and require no tooth preparation. However they do have a tendency to move and can collect plaque, predisposing you to gum disease and tooth decay. Cobalt Chrome dentures are similar but are much stronger because they are made of metal, allowing them to be thinner for improved comfort and fit. These dentures are still removable though, so can also collect a lot of plaque. Some tooth preparation may also be required to ensure the correct fit.

Bridgework

A fixed type of restoration, bridgework also comes in two variations – an Adhesive Bridge and a Conventional Fixed Bridge. In an Adhesive Bridge the new tooth which fills the gap is held in place by a small metal wing bonded to the back of the adjacent tooth. Adhesive bridges have the advantage over a denture that they are fixed in place, however the wing can de-bond from the tooth causing the bridge to fall out. A Conventional Bridge involves reshaping and filing down the adjacent tooth or teeth to allow the bridge to be fitted. They are very strong and rarely fall out. But the tooth preparation required can sometimes result in the supporting teeth devitalising (dying) and the need for remedial root canal therapy. The teeth supporting the bridge also have extra load placed upon them which can lead to tooth fracture or loosening. When this type of bridge fails it often means the supporting teeth are also lost.

Leaving a space

Another option could be simply to choose not to replace the teeth. However, this could lead to tilting of the teeth either side of the space and in the long term lead to functional problems with your bite. Over time the teeth opposite the gap may also overerupt (grow down into the gap) and again this could lead to bite problems which can be much harder to address at a later date. If the missing teeth are at the front of the mouth, the space can also mean an obvious cosmetic problem.

Of course, whatever option you choose, at Seaham Smiles we’ll be there to guide and support you through the full process. Simply ask your dentist to find out more.

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