Dentures, Bridge or Implants? Replacing Teeth?
We offer interest free payment plans. Click here to learn more.

Replacing Teeth: Dentures, Bridge or Implants?

Decayed and missing teeth can affect more than just your appearance. They may also impact on your diet and nutrition, speech and self-esteem. The healthy teeth surrounding a gap can also be affected if they start to lean out of shape and affect how your teeth bite together.

If you have any missing teeth, or teeth that are too badly decayed or damaged to repair with crowns or fillings, your dentist can discuss your options for replacing them with natural-looking prosthetic teeth. These are custom designed to look, feel and function like the real thing.

The main options for teeth replacement are removable dentures, fixed dental bridges and permanent dental implants. Your dentist will explain what each treatment option involves and how much they cost so you can decide what's best for your situation.

What are dentures?

Dentures are removable false teeth that may be made of a combination of acrylic, resin and metals. They can replace a single tooth or multiple teeth (partial dentures) or a complete arch of teeth in the upper or lower jaw (full dentures).

Dentures may attach to the mouth through suction or attach to remaining teeth with clasps. Dental adhesive can help to hold dentures in place, but this shouldn't be necessary if your dentures have been designed by an experienced prosthetist to be a perfect fit for your mouth.

An alternative to conventional dentures is implant-retained dentures. These are still removable, but attach to the top of dental implants rather than resting in the mouth, improving their comfort and stability. This involves minor surgery to place the implants in your jaw.

Advantages of dentures

  • Cheaper upfront than implants
  • Non-invasive and non-surgical
  • Avoid clinical risks
  • Shorter treatment time
  • Suitable for all patients

Disadvantages of dentures

  • Need special cleaning and maintenance
  • Limit what foods you can eat
  • May affect your speech
  • May become loose or uncomfortable
  • Don't prevent jaw deterioration

Replacing teeth with dentures

Dentures are custom made to be a perfect fit by taking a series of impressions of your mouth. These are sent to a dental prosthetist who will create your custom dentures in your chosen style. When the dentures are ready, your dentist will check whether they fit comfortably and make any adjustments necessary.

If you're having teeth extracted and replaced with dentures, your dentist will recommend waiting for your gum to heal before they create your custom dentures. This is because swollen gums can affect the impressions taken of your mouth, so your dentures may not fit properly.

It usually takes 6 to 8 weeks for the gum to heal completely, after which the denture process can begin. Your dentist will provide temporary false teeth to wear in the meantime.

Another approach is immediate dentures. As their name suggests, these replace teeth straight after extractions, but there is a higher risk of discomfort and they may need to be adjusted by your dentist as your mouth heals.

Living with dentures

Dentures may not be at risk of tooth decay, but they can still stain and harbour bacteria like natural teeth. If you're getting full or partial dentures, your dentist will make sure you know how to take good care of your replacement teeth.

Dentures should be taken out and cleaned at least once a day over a sink. Use warm water (not hot) and a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently clean all surfaces. Don't use toothpaste or whitening products on dentures, as these can cause damage or discolouration.

You should also soak your dentures overnight in a denture solution or lukewarm water to keep them moist. If your dentures get damaged or feel loose or uncomfortable, you'll need to see a dentist for repairs, relining or replacement. Dentures will need to be replaced after several years.

What are dental bridges?

Dental bridges are prosthetic teeth that are designed to fill gaps between other teeth and restore your smile. A bridge may replace a single tooth or several teeth side by side.

Unlike removable dentures, a bridge is fixed in place. Depending on its position in the mouth, a bridge may be attached to the teeth on one or both sides, or supported by one or more implants in the jaw.

Bridges may be made from several materials, depending on your preferences and price range. Traditionally made of metal, most bridges today are made from strong porcelain that can be matched to your natural tooth colour for a seamless smile.

Advantages of dental bridges

  • Non-invasive and non-surgical
  • Avoid clinical risks
  • Don't affect your speech or diet
  • Don't come loose
  • No special care or maintenance

Disadvantages of dental bridges

  • Cost more upfront than dentures
  • Require strong and healthy teeth for support
  • May require altering existing teeth
  • Need replacing after a number of years
  • Don't prevent jaw deterioration

Replacing teeth with a bridge

If you're considering replacing a tooth or teeth with a bridge, your dentist will explain your treatment options. A bridge may be supported by crowns fitted over one or two adjacent teeth or by metal clasps bonded to the back of teeth.

After your teeth have been prepared, impressions will be taken of your mouth to design your custom bridge. Once ready, your dentist will check that it's a perfect fit before bonding it into place.

Creating a bridge and crowns traditionally involves several appointments and a waiting period of a week or more as the custom prosthetics are manufactured in a dental laboratory. However, thanks to CEREC systems, some dental clinics can now provide same-day crowns and bridges.

Living with a dental bridge

Unlike dentures, bridges don't have special care requirements. Your replacement teeth should simply be brushed and flossed like natural teeth to remove food and plaque and to prevent problems such as gum disease and bad breath.

Depending on the material your bridge is made of, your dentist may advise avoiding some foods that could risk damaging or staining the material. Even a bridge that's well looked after will be prone to normal wear and tear and needs to be replaced after a number of years.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants provide a stable and long-lasting foundation for one or more replacement teeth, or a whole arch of teeth. Made from biocompatible titanium, implants are placed in the jaw to replace an entire tooth, including the root. This supports the jaw bone and helps to prevent bone loss in the jaw and face.

As the dental implant procedure involves minor surgery, you must have healthy gums and avoid smoking during the healing phase to be eligible for implants, or there may be a risk of complications.

If there isn't enough bone density in your jaw to support a standard implant, your dentist may discuss a bone grafting procedure to build it up with transplanted or synthetic tissue. However, this may not be an option if you have a medical condition that affects bone healing.

Advantages of dental implants

  • Don't affect your speech or diet
  • Don't come loose
  • No special care or maintenance
  • Prevent deterioration of the jaw
  • Can last a lifetime

Disadvantages of dental implants

  • Cost more upfront
  • Require minor surgery
  • Involve minor clinical risks
  • Longer treatment time
  • Not suitable for all patients

Replacing teeth with implants

Placing dental implants is a more complex and time-consuming procedure than an unsupported bridge or dentures, but once the implant has bonded with the jawbone, it can usually last a lifetime.

Your dentist will take detailed images of your mouth to plan your implant treatment and surgically place the implant or implants in your jaw. Local anaesthesia or other sedation will be used to make the procedure painless.

It takes several months for the jaw to heal around the implant and hold it in place. Your dentist will provide temporary replacement teeth to wear until the healing is complete, when your final crown, bridge or implant-retained dentures can be designed and bonded into place.

Some types of implants allow for the immediate placement of replacement teeth, such as full arch implants replacing all of the upper or lower teeth with a bridge or full denture.

Living with dental implants

Like a dental bridge, implants don't need special cleaning or maintenance beyond looking after your oral hygiene.

While titanium implants themselves can last a lifetime, the prosthetic teeth attached will eventually need to be replaced after a number of years due to damage or wear. How long depends on the materials they are made from and how well you care for your new teeth.

Need to replace one or more teeth?

If you're concerned about missing or damaged teeth and want to know more about your options, book a consultation with our experienced Gold Coast dentists at Robina Town Dental. We'll assess your eligibility for treatments and give you all the information you need to make a fully informed decision.

Call our friendly team today on 07 5575 9100 or book an appointment online. We welcome patients from all nearby suburbs and further afield, including Burleigh Heads, Burleigh Waters, Clear Island Waters, Mermaid Waters, Merrimac, Miami, Mudgeeraba, Varsity Lakes and Worongary.

Call Now: 07 5575 9100