I have two missing teeth on my upper set of teeth (the first two molars) and have been using dentures for the last 10 years. These dentures are troublesome, as I have to remove them each night before I go to bed. They’re also quite embarrassing! Is there a permanent solution for this? Are bridges permanent? Would implants be a better option for me?
Besides dentures, there are two other methods available to replace missing teeth – dental implants and bridges. Not replacing the missing teeth is also a viable option.
Doing a dental bridge involves trimming the two teeth on both sides of the missing tooth/teeth, and placing two crowns on the trimmed teeth. The missing tooth/teeth are replaced with ‘pontic(s)’ (which look like teeth). The pontic(s) are attached to the two crowns – this structure is known as a bridge. A bridge is fixed (unlike a denture which is removable). The average lifespan of a bridge is approximately five to 15 years.
A dental implant is essentially a titanium screw embedded in the jawbone to replace the root of the missing tooth. A crown can then be attached to the implant to replace the missing tooth. A row of missing teeth can be replaced by a bridge supported by two (or more) implants. The initial cost of implants is higher than bridges, but the average lifespan of an implant is relatively longer than a bridge.
Every form of dental treatment has its own advantages and disadvantages. No form of dental treatment can be deemed as permanent. As long as you have a mouth, you will need to maintain what is on the inside (much like an automobile).
Depending on your food intake, habits and lifestyle, your teeth and fillings are subject to wear and tear. Consult your dentist on which option should work best for you.
Answered Dr. Sim Tang Eng