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Cosmetic dentistry procedures for missing teeth

Missing teeth definitely change the smile and the facial appearance of a person. Teeth are usually lost due to decay, accidents, trauma to the mouth, old age or even other diseases. When teeth are lost, corresponding changes occur in the alignment of the teeth in the mouth. Speech gets affected. Worst of all, it even affects the self-confidence of a person.

Cosmetic dentistry focuses on giving a boost to the physical appearance of a person. There are different procedures available in cosmetic dentistry that help with replacement teeth providing both aesthetics and functional support.

Cosmetic dentistry consultation

During a cosmetic dentistry consultation, the dentist will usually begin by discussing your dental health history with you in order to get a clear picture of how he or she can help you. You must not forget to inform them about all of the medicines, both prescription and non-prescription, that you are taking.

An important aspect of this initial discussion is to address any concerns that you might have regarding your smile, which could range from restoring an old crown to replacing amalgam fillings with white ones. Once the dentist has taken down all of this information it is time for them to tell you about the cosmetic treatment options.

Many patients are apprehensive before their first consultation because they fear it will be expensive. However, you shouldn’t worry because a cosmetic dentistry consultation is not an expensive process and will often be done at no cost to you unless it is followed up with a full scale treatment plan. Most importantly, these consultations are completely risk free, which means that there is nothing to lose by going for one.

As mentioned before, the dentist will give you their professional opinion about what kind of treatments they think would best suit your needs. They will also discuss all of the different options with you so that you can make an informed decision about how much money should be spent on dental care.

Depending on your needs they will suggest a plan which may include any of the following.

Dental bridges

Bridges help in exactly bridging the gap when there are missing teeth.

Dental bridges come with two caps at either end, these are the structures that are placed on the natural teeth adjacent to the missing teeth space. These structures help anchor the teeth – they are called abutment teeth. In between these abutments, there will be the replacement teeth – like a bridge, filling the gap.

As the abutment teeth are placed on the natural teeth, they need to be prepped. This requires removing the dental enamel slightly to make sure that the abutment can accept these crowns for providing support.

Materials used in dental bridges come in different varieties – there are traditional bridges made with porcelain mixed with metals or ceramics. The naturality of these dental bridges is always kept in mind so the person does not feel conscious when speaking with others after undergoing this procedure.

Another type is porcelain fused with metal bridges and they are supported with a metal or a porcelain framework. These are bonded mostly to one side only and natural teeth are used for support. After this procedure there is visible aesthetic improvement along with functional support.

Cosmetic dentures

Cosmetic dentures focus on making dentures look great and also function well. The blending of function and appearance is taken care of. These dentures blend in just like the natural teeth and the person can carry on with his/her life as before.

Missing teeth owing to old age, accident, or illness may force a person to compromise in terms of less-than-ideal alternatives and a lifestyle downgrade. With cosmetic dentures, they can now maintain their former routine.

There are different types of dentures to choose from – partial or complete – depending on how the teeth are replaced.

Partial dentures replace only a section of the teeth, they also do not require prepping the neighbouring teeth for placing the replacement teeth. Complete dentures refer to the replacement of a complete set of teeth. These look and feel like natural teeth and support a person in their speech and also fill out their cheeks.

Due to the fact that this is cosmetic dentistry, additional attention is given to tooth shaping, gum design, and colour coordination aspects. The techniques and processes employed in cosmetic dentistry procedures are utilized to improve the teeth.

This helps ensure that the dentures are just like natural teeth and they also function exactly like them. Many prefer to opt for cosmetic dentures due to the ‘naturalness’ they offer in the procedure.

Dental implants

One of the most popular missing teeth options is dental implants. They offer permanent options for replacement teeth and are durable as well. They function just like other options offering missing teeth replacement but they are permanently fixed to the jaw bone and cannot be removed- surgery is the only way to remove them.

Two types of dental implants are available – endosteal implant and subperiosteal implants. The implant is placed into the jaw bone in the endosteal method whereas in subperiosteal they are placed on top of the jaws. Many opt for the former method, but subperiosteal offers great help in those who have less bone height.

The procedure is performed under anaesthesia and is considered major dental surgery. The process takes few months to complete as it requires proper healing of the gums after each step. After the procedure is complete, the person gets replacement teeth that mimic natural teeth both functionally and structurally.

Irrespective of any dental procedure that is done, it is important to have a good dental hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing help in removing food debris that can promote worsening of oral/dental health. After procedures also proper cleaning should be done lest this creates plaque/tartar formation and then lead to decay.

Regular check-ups after each procedure is recommended as this will help check on how the dental procedures are holding up and if any additional support needs to be given to them. Having discussions with dentists during the consultations will help in maintaining and following routines that will promote good oral and dental health.

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