What are my options for missing teeth?

Treatment options for missing teeth will depend on your oral health

Did you know 1 in 5 Australians over the age of 25 is missing at least one tooth[1]? With an increase in dental education has come a decrease in the average number of tooth loss nationally.

The increase in dental education—and access to dental health care—has seen more patients willing to invest in their oral health with the best procedures to replace teeth and maintain good oral health.

What your oral health has to do with your options for replacing missing teeth

The state of your oral health can determine which treatment is used; or what combination of treatments is required. For example: if you have had teeth missing for a few years before you decide to replace them, the health of your jawbone will dictate what can be done.

When you lose a tooth, the jawbone which holds the tooth root in place starts to shrink. This shrinkage is permanent. To prevent the jawbone shrinking too much and causing further damage to adjacent teeth, we advise replacing the tooth as soon as possible.

Otherwise, what happens is the jawbone shrinks to a point where other teeth start to fall out and there’s insufficient jawbone density to place a dental implant. You could still have a dental bridge or denture placed; however, these don’t provide your mouth with the same support as a dental implant.

Additionally, when you lose a tooth, the teeth adjacent to the gap start to shift, causing your bite to become crooked. This in itself creates further problems and can lead to further tooth loss, headaches and neck pain.

Gum disease and replacing teeth

Gum disease is also a cause for concern. As the leading cause of tooth loss in adults (about 90% of tooth loss is attributed to gum disease[2]), gum disease must be treated before any tooth replacement option is considered.

Your options for replacing missing teeth

Your options for missing teeth include:

Dental implants

The ideal treatment for most patients is dental implants.  This treatment replaces both the root and crown of the tooth providing optimal support for jaws, gum and teeth adjacent to the missing tooth.

Dental implant treatment can take up to six months to complete due to the length of time it takes for your jawbone to heal around the dental implant. A dental crown, bridge or denture is then attached to the implant to complete the treatment.

Typically, the only time this treatment isn’t suitable is when a patient has insufficient jawbone density and doesn’t wish to have a bone graft.


This is the tried and tested method of replacing teeth. Unless you need teeth extracted, dentures require no surgery, no downtime and are virtually painless. Dentures are made from acrylic with fake teeth attached. A partial denture is attached with hooks around existing health teeth whereas a full denture requires dental glue to stay attached.

If a denture isn’t attached to dental implants, they will generally need to be replaced as your jawbone shrinks and so changes shape.

Dental bridge

A dental bridge is a fake tooth or two attached to two crowns. The teeth on either side of the gap are shaved down and prepared for the dental crowns to be placed. After this, the dental crowns are attached to the healthy teeth filling in the gap.

When you visit Redlands Gentle Dental Care, one of our friendly dentists can assess your oral health and determine which treatment is best for your oral health.

[1] http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129554609

[2] Ibid

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