Losing even one tooth can have a significant impact on your speech, your ability to digest food, the alignment of your bite and the way that your mouth looks. Here are two common dental devices which can be used to address this oral health issue:
A cosmetic denture
Cosmetic dentures are comprised of one or more artificial teeth, attached to a plastic base. They are designed to mimic both the appearance and functionality of real teeth and thus can not only improve the appearance of a person's smile but can also enable them to speak clearly and chew their food thoroughly.
Both the base component (which sits on the roof of the mouth) and the false teeth can be designed so that they blend in seamlessly with the wearer's own natural gums and teeth (both in terms of colour and shape), making them almost impossible to detect when they are being worn.
However, cosmetic dentures cannot be worn all of the time. They need to be left to soak overnight in a cleaning solution. They also need to be removed from the mouth and washed with a toothbrush on a daily basis. If the wearer does not take care of their dentures, the bacteria on their dental device could lead to them developing halitosis and may put them at greater risk of contracting infections, such as gingivitis.
It should also be noted that dentures usually need to be replaced approximately once every five years or so.
A dental bridge
For those who would prefer a dental device which they do not have to remove regularly, a bridge may be a better option than a denture, as this item is permanently attached to the teeth.
This device consists of an artificial tooth which sits in between (and is connected to) two 'caps' or crowns. The crowns are placed on top of the healthy teeth which sit adjacent to the empty socket, and the false tooth is then inserted into this gap. The crowns serve as stabilisers, which ensure that the artificial tooth will stay securely in place.
The false tooth used to make a bridge is normally made from an extremely hard-wearing material, such as porcelain.
There are, however, some downsides to using a bridge to replace a missing tooth. One of the main disadvantages is that the fitting of this dental device necessitates the shaving down of two perfectly healthy teeth (so that the crowns will fit neatly on top of them). This damage to the enamel of these teeth is irreversible.
Furthermore, the process of fitting a bridge can potentially damage the nerves of these health teeth which could, in turn, lead to the dentist having to perform a root canal.