## Effective restoration of multiple missing teeth

Before we look at today’s topic, we would like to take this opportunity to wish all our Canterbury patients a belated happy new year. We hope that you all enjoyed your break, though for many of us, that may now seem like a distant memory as we head back to work.

In our last blog, we looked at some aspects of a smile makeover to help you look your best this year. There is one area though that we feel deserves a more detailed look.

One of the most difficult decisions that a patient might have to make when it comes to smile restoration is which method to choose to replace a missing tooth. This usually comes down to a decision between a denture, a bridge or a dental implant. This becomes even more complex when we talk about multiple tooth loss and although the options essentially remain the same, the role of dental implants in this particular situation is sometimes misunderstood.

### Non consecutive gaps in the teeth

One of the more complex situations that arises is where a patient has lost a few teeth but they are not altogether in one continuous gap. To take a simple example of this, a patient may have two out of three teeth missing but with the remaining one in the middle of the gap. So, in effect, you have: gap – tooth – gap. As you will see shortly, if the middle one was also absent, dental implant replacement becomes relatively straightforward, but as the middle tooth is still present, a decision needs to be made.

The most obvious solution here is to use two dental implants with each individually replacing the missing tooth either side of the remaining one. This might seem the most obvious way but it might also depend on the condition of the tooth in the middle. If it is a strong and healthy natural tooth then the above will most likely prove to be the best option. What though, if this tooth is not so healthy and perhaps has been filled or has been damaged in some way? In some situations, it may be better to extract this tooth, especially if its prognosis is poor, and allow a continuous bridge of teeth to be used to replace all three. The only way to determine this is through a thorough examination by one of the dentists at Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant Clinic. We will guide you through the options available to you following our examination.

### Missing consecutive teeth

What would be the most appropriate action to take if three (or more) consecutive teeth were missing when it comes to the use of dental implants? It may be a fairly common assumption that you could replace each tooth with an individual dental implant. This could be an option, but, especially if there were four or more consecutive teeth missing, it could prove to be an expensive one and one that requires a more significant treatment period too.

In most cases like this, we may recommend that we use a fixed bridge of teeth to replace all of the missing teeth. Unlike a regular bridge though, this can be held in place using a number of dental implants. The number used will depend on how many teeth are being replaced. This fixed bridge will be much more secure than a traditional dental bridge and will also offer a greater degree of strength and be much easier to clean and look after.

### A full arch of missing teeth

Where a patient has lost a full arch of teeth, we can extend the priciple of the above method even further. If you are in this situation, you might feel that dentures are the only option available to you but you would be wrong. In most cases, a full arch of missing teeth can be replaced using full arch bridgework. This extends the method above by using usually between four and six dental implants which are strategically placed into the affected arch. A fixed bridge of teeth is then attached to these and you will be left with a strong and very stable set of replacement teeth which are also straightforward to look after. In some cases, this whole treatment can be performed in just a single day, leaving you with a set of teeth that can be used almost straight away. This will depend on each situation though and our Canterbury dentist will be able to advise following an examination and discussion with you.

### Stabilising dentures

Although the above method is more commonly used, we do, from time to time, meet patients who already have dentures and are largely happy with them, or would be if they were more stable. In this situation there is often the option of using dentures but stabilising them using implants as above. We are always happy to discuss the various tooth replacement options with you during your initial consultation.

We hope that you found our first blog of 2023 to be useful and informative and we are happy to answer any questions that you might have. If you would like to find out more about our individual or multiple tooth replacement options, or to book an initial consultation at Bradley and Partners Dental & Implant clinic, please call us on **01227 463529**.

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