Ways to replace missing teeth

missing teethIt is unfortunately quite common for people to have missing teeth, many times nothing is done and people live quite happily with the gap, in this blog post we will look at some of the reasons why you may want to replace missing teeth and if you so choose, what are your best options?

We’ve written in a previous blog post that when you have a missing tooth the opposing teeth can begin to drift and the adjacent teeth can begin to tip, this is probably the biggest reason to replace missing teeth, in order to protect your surrounding teeth and bite.

Options to replace missing teeth.

You basically have three options to replace your missing teeth.

  • Dentures
  • Dental bridges
  • Dental implants

let’s look at each of these in turn.

Dental bridges

dental bridgeA dental bridge essentially uses the teeth either side of the gap as a support to replace the missing tooth in the middle. One of the biggest disadvantages is that there is often a requirement to remove healthy tooth structure on either side of the gap in order to accept this new support. The support is called an abutment in technical terms and often takes the form of a new crown.

The tooth which is replaced (called a Pontic in technical terms) is then attached to the abutments either side. You will generally find that to replace a single missing tooth that both teeth, on either side of the gap, are involved in this bridging process. This means that there will be a three tooth bridge required in order to replace a single missing tooth.

The biggest disadvantage in this process is that possibly healthy teeth on either side of the gap may need to have healthy tooth tissue removed.


claspModern dentures can be highly asthetic so that no one would know that you are wearing them, the gum and acrylic teeth can be made to look highly lifelike and natural, mimicking a natural smile almost exactly. One of the biggest disadvantages of dentures is the fact that they are removable. Many people dislike the idea of removing their teeth at night.

Small dentures can be made to replace a couple of missing teeth, in this case a clasp will be used around the teeth either side to hold the denture in place. These clasps can we made in one of three different materials:

  • Gold. A more expensive option but an excellent material to use in the oral environment as it is inert and has good pliability.
  • Stainless steel. A cheaper alternative and with the similar properties to Gold
  • Acetyl resin. These are tooth coloured clasps, they often very expensive to make as the manufacturing process is relatively long and complex, they do however provide an extremely aesthetic option to retained dentures.

Dental implants.

implant_schemaA dental implant is often your dentist’s preferred option. When a dental implant is placed it will support the surrounding bone, this prevents the bone collapsing into the gap where the tooth was removed (remember to read our previous blog post on the subject). This means that bone is retained rather than lost after the extraction. It then but also means that the adjacent teeth do not have to be touched in order to take the abutment, as is common with dental bridges.

This means that dental implants can often be the best biological, functional and aesthetic way to replace missing teeth.

One disadvantage with dental implants is the immediate cost, there is the cost of providing the implant itself (this is a precision made dental appliance made to tolerances of thousandths of a millimetre), a dental implant surgeon to place the implant itself and then the final dental crown which is fitted on top of the dental implant.

However, an extremely important point to bear in mind is that the dental implant will typically last longer than any of the other restorations. As your teeth and gums change shape you will be required to have a new denture overtime, with a dental bridge, the gum underneath the pontic (the new tooth) can change shape as it is not supported, as this happensgaps appear underneath this pontic meaning it needs to be replaced.

Because dental bridges need three teeth to replace one single missing tooth, this can also be more expensive than you might imagine.

For this reason dental implants are often considered the best option for you.

How do I know which option is best for me?

This is a great question…

Minimum fuss.

If you want to have the simplest replacement of a missing tooth with the minimum number of appointments then a denture may be the best option. You do however have to consider the disadvantag that it is removable and will need replacing overtime.

Next on this list would be a dental bridge. You will need a couple of appointments at the dentist but once the bridge is fitted you can forget about it, apart from cleaning regularly of course, although again you do need to remember that it may need replacing a few years down the line.

Minimum cost.

Dentures would be the minimum cost way to replace missing teeth, apart from doing nothing at all. When it comes to dental implants and dental bridges it can often be a very close call. In the short term a dental bridge may be slightly cheaper but in the long-term, taking into account that a bridge may need to be replaced sooner than a dental implant, an implant can be the longest serving option.

It’s also worth thinking about what your budget could be when you first go to the dentist. Remember, many dental practices offer payment plans, often at 0% so you will not always be expected to pay the full amount upfront. Please ensure you discuss this with your dentist if you think a payment plan could work for you.

Trinity Dental Centre around local dental practice in Barnstaple, North Devon offering the local people dental health advice and treatments to help replace missing teeth as well as stay dentally fit and healthy for life.

Request your appointment online today.


Why replace missing teeth? #3 Might Surprise You!

We are often asked about the different ways to replace missing teeth, so we thought it would be helpful to the people of the North Devon and the local Barnstaple areas if we took some time to explain this in our blog.

We are therefore going to take an in-depth look at the reasons you might want to replace missing teeth (which may include some reasons you’ve never heard of before!), we will also take a brief look at the various ways of replacing missing teeth and what the advantages are with each method. (More to come on this in more detail in a future blog post).

Why replace missing teeth?

1. Because gaps don’t look great

It sounds obvious, but it’s rather true. Our smile is extremely important to the look of our face, take a look at these celebrities with their teeth deleted from the photographs… Your smile is extremely important and having missing teeth can change the way it looks completely.Replace missing teeth

2. Because other teeth can move around!

Teeth moving after extractionYour teeth are all in fine balance with one another. Teeth rest in what is known as the ‘neutral zone’. This neutral zone is created by the teeth either side, the opposing teeth on the opposite jaw and your tongue and cheek. All of these put mild pressure on the tooth, all in balance with one another, all keeping your teeth in pretty much the same place.

If this balance and harmony is disturbed, for example by removing a tooth, then the teeth either side will have a tendency to tip into the gap and drift. Your opposing teeth will also have a tendency to over erupt in to the gap.

This moving of teeth can have a cosmetic impact. Take a look at the image above and notice that the premolar that has moved has changed the gum line on the upper jaw. This sensitive gum line architecture will affect how your smile looks if it is compromised.

Moving teeth around like this can also affect the way your bite works

3. Because your jaw joint can be affected

This is a direct consequence of the teeth moving as described in #2. If your opposing teeth drift then you may have to move your jaw in a slightly different way to ensure that the teeth don’t interfere with each other when you bite.

This can be extremely subtle and you may not even notice that your natural muscles have changed the way they work slightly. One consequence of this can be that some muscles are overworked,. Because the muscles of your head and neck are all connected. this can lead to headaches and/or neck pain.

A rather surprising consequence of having a single tooth removed!

4. Because you can prevent additional bone loss

Bone lossWhen a tooth is removed, it leaves a socket or a hole. New bone doesn’t fill up this hole, rather, what happens is that the surrounding bone collapses in to fill up the gap. This collapsing means you lose over all bone quantity in this area.

This can have the impact of changing the line of your gum and also can compromise the placement of a dental implant at a later date if you so decide due to a possible lack of adequate bone.

One way to prevent this bone loss is to have a dental implant placed, the dental implant then fills the gap where the tooth is removed and prevents the adjacent bone from collapsing into the space.

Ways to replace missing teeth.

The primary focus of this blog post is to answer your questions about why you should replace missing teeth, we will take a much more in-depth look at the various options in our next blog post., however, here is a brief summary.


Dentures are often unpopular due to the fact that they are removable. Modern dentures however can often be extremely stable, beautiful and are often a perfectly acceptable way to replace missing teeth.

Dental bridges.

Dental bridges have been around for many years now and form a permanent solution to replacing missing teeth. They will attach to the adjacent teeth, which form an abutment off of which the false tooth will be suspended.

Dental implants.

Dental implants are the most modern solution for replacing missing teeth. They generally offer the most aesthetic option as they can look as though they grow out of the gum like a natural tooth. Because they also support the surrounding bone and prevent bone loss they may also be considered the most healthy option.

Further questions about replacing missing teeth?

To help with all of your questions we have created a free guide, in it we talk about the various options to replace missing teeth, the procedures, the costs and what you can expect.

The guide is completely free and can be downloaded by completing the form below.

replacing missing teeth

Should you require any further information about replacing missing teeth in the Barnstaple, North Devon area then please visit our website or request an appointment here.