What are the Alternatives to a Dental Bridge?
The alternatives to a bridge are discussed in more detail in options for restoring missing teeth. Of course, it is possible that you decide to do nothing and simply leave the space but doing so can result in some unpleasant changes to your mouth. We talk a bit more about the decision not to do anything below.
I have decided I want my Missing Tooth/ Teeth Filled… What now?
If you decide that filling your gap or gaps is necessary (as we would recommend), then the decision is between:
A fixed approach– something that stays permanently in your mouth
A removable approach– something which will need to be taken in and out.
If the decision is ‘fixed’ your options are:
- Some combination of the two– a bridge supported by an implant maybe needed, if there is not enough support available from your natural teeth, or if the space you are trying to replace is quite large. Multiple single implants with crowns can also be used.
If your decision is ‘removable’ ( we are talking about a partial denture); you have three types available:
- Combined with an implant or implants- if necessary for extra support
Our missing teeth series will provide you with lots more information, giving you a much better understanding of these choices and answering questions such as:
- What are the advantages and disadvantage of ‘fixed’ versus ‘removable options’?
- When is a removable option advisable?
- When is a fixed option advisable?
- Which is the best option for me?
- What else do you need to consider?
What if I don’t have Treatment?
There are consequences to missing teeth that you may not have thought about, so it is important to make yourself aware of what might happen if you do nothing.
To fill or not to fill the gap, is ultimately your decision, not the dentist’s. Remember it is your mouth not theirs- you are going to have to pay for it and live with whatever you decide to have done- not the dentist- so you need to go with what is right for you.
Their job is to give you all the information (ups and downs) that you need to know to make the decision; provide their best professional opinion on what you should have done and then actually carry out the treatment to the best possible standard.
This is known as ‘informed consent’ and is the basis of ethical dental practice. It is not to coax you into having a treatment, or drum up enough pain, so that you decide to take action and have, say a crown, when a filling is a perfectly suitable option. Making an ‘informed decision’ is empowering and necessary.
The benefits of replacing your missing teeth (such as improved appearance, speech and chewing) must be weighed against the possible consequences, risks and adverse effect of doing so. This must be considered in the context of all the different options and the costs of the various treatments.
The line between dental healthcare and cosmetic dentistry has become a little more blurry of late. There was always some overlap, as certain treatment options do look significantly better than others- unfortunately these tend to be slapped with suitably larger price tag and so are definitely not within reach of everybody.
Whether these are the best choices in the long term is slightly different and the answer is certainly not as clear cut as you may think. Every single situation and individual is different, no one case is ever quite the same.
You only have one set of adult teeth, so until we learn how to grow new teeth like sharks and crocodiles, it is worth doing everything you can to preserve them for your entire life and that may not be drilling them down to stubs and sticking beautiful porcelain crowns over the top at the age of 20.