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Missing Teeth

Replacement options for missing teeth


Following dental extraction, a gap is left. The options to fill this gap are commonly recorded as “BIND”, and the exact choice is agreed between dentist and patient based upon several factors.

Treatment option Advantages Disadvantages
Bridge Fixed to adjacent teeth Drilling usually required on one or both sides of the gap if conventional bridge (average lifespan about 10 years). Conservative bridge (average lifespan about 5 years) preparation may cause minimal damage to adjacent teeth. Expensive and complex treatment, not suited to all situations, e.g. large gaps in the back of the mouth Alveolar bone will still resorb, and eventually a gap may show under bridge.
Implant Fixed to jawbone. Maintains alveolar bone, which would otherwise undergo resorption. Usually a long term lifespan. Expensive and complex, requiring specialist. May involve other procedures such as bone grafting. Relatively contra-indicated in tobacco smokers.
Nothing  Often the choice due to cost of other treatment or lack of motivation for other treatments. Part of a shortened dental arch plan, which revolves around the fact that not all teeth are required to eat comfortably, and only the incisors and premolars need be preserved for normal function. The alveolar bone will slowly resorb over time once the tooth is lost. Potential aesthetic concern. Potential for drifting and rotation of adjacent teeth into the gap over time.
Denture Often a simple, quick and relatively cheap treatment compared to bridge and implant. Not usually any drilling of other teeth required. It is far easier to replace several teeth with a denture than place multiple bridges or implants. Denture is not fixed in mouth. Over time worsens periodontal disease unless there is good level of oral hygiene, and may damage soft tissues. Potential for slightly accelerated resorption of alveolar bone compared to no denture. Potential for poor tolerance in persons with over-sensitivegag reflex, xerostomia, etc.


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