Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common dental condition characterised by inflammation and infection of the tissues that support your teeth, including the gums, ligaments, and bone. It typically begins with the accumulation of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, on the teeth and gums.
If gum disease is left untreated or is severe enough, the bacteria can cause the breakdown of the supporting structures around the tooth. This includes the gum tissue, periodontal ligament, and the bone that holds the tooth in place. As these structures break down, teeth can become loose and eventually lead to tooth loss.
It’s important to note that early detection and proper treatment of gum disease are essential to prevent the progression of the disease and potential tooth loss. Regular dental check-ups and effective oral hygiene practices are vital in maintaining the health of the supporting structures and preserving natural teeth as long as possible. Unfortunately, 70 % of adult tooth loss is due to gum disease.
If you do lose a tooth or teeth due to gum disease, there are a number of alternatives available to you here at Harcourt Dental Clinic in Dublin. Read on to find out more or call our reception team at 01 475 1313 to book a consultation to discuss your options.
a) Removeable partial dentures (RPD’s)
These are dental appliances designed to replace missing teeth when a patient has some natural teeth remaining in the upper or lower jaw. They consist of artificial teeth attached to a base made of metal, acrylic, or a combination of materials. RPDs are custom-made to fit the mouth and are designed to restore both function and aesthetics.
Removable partial dentures might be recommended in the following situations:
- When a patient has multiple missing teeth but still has some healthy natural teeth remaining.
- They provide a cost-effective tooth replacement option when compared to dental implants or fixed bridges.
- They are used as an interim measure when waiting for more permanent restorative procedure’s solutions like bridgework or Implants.
1. Affordability: RPDs are often more cost-effective compared to dental implants or fixed bridges, making them accessible to a wider range of patients.
2. Ease of Maintenance: RPDs can be removed for cleaning, making oral hygiene more manageable. Regular cleaning helps prevent gum disease and maintains overall oral health.
3. Aesthetic Improvement: They can improve appearance by filling gaps left by missing teeth and restoring a natural-looking smile.
4. Versatility: RPDs can replace multiple missing teeth and can be adjusted or modified if necessary.
1. Potential Discomfort: Some patients may experience initial discomfort or soreness while adapting to RPDs. However, this discomfort typically diminishes as they get used to wearing them.
2. Reduced Stability: Compared to dental implants or fixed bridges, RPDs may offer less stability during chewing and speaking. Patients may need to be cautious with certain foods and will experience some movement of the appliance.
3. Dependency on Healthy Teeth: RPDs require the presence of healthy natural teeth for support and stability. If the remaining natural teeth deteriorate, adjustments to the RPDs may be necessary or they may become loose over time.
4. Maintenance Effort: While they are easier to clean compared to fixed restorations, RPDs still require regular maintenance and should be removed nightly for cleaning and soaking.
5. Removable: Some patients simply won’t tolerate a prosthesis that is removable and want a fixed alternative.
b) Fixed Dental Bridges:
Fixed Dental Bridges are an excellent option for replacing missing teeth given the right circumstances. These devices consist of artificial teeth (pontics) that are permanently attached to adjacent natural teeth. They are not removable and feel much like your own teeth.
How They Work: They work by anchoring the pontics to the adjacent (abutment) teeth. The abutment teeth are prepared by removing a small amount of enamel to accommodate dental crowns, which serve as anchors for the bridge. This creates a stable unit that fills the gap, restoring both function and aesthetics.
Suitable Choice: Fixed dental bridges are suitable when healthy adjacent teeth are available as abutments, when patients prefer a non-removable tooth replacement solution, for achieving a natural-looking appearance, and in cases where dental implants are not feasible.
Importance of Proper Oral Hygiene: Maintaining Fixed Dental Bridges: The Role of Oral Hygiene
- Permanent Solution: Fixed dental bridges offer a permanent tooth replacement option. Once in place, they are stable and do not require removal like dentures.
- Aesthetic Benefits: Bridges are custom-made to match the colour, shape, and size of natural teeth, providing a seamless and natural appearance. This helps restore the patient’s smile and confidence.
- Improved Function: Patients can enjoy restored chewing and speaking abilities, as bridges restore the gap left by missing teeth.
- Preservation of Adjacent Teeth: Bridges rely on healthy adjacent teeth as abutments. The preparation of these teeth involves minimal alteration, preserving their integrity.
Limitations of Fixed Dental Bridges:
- Dependency on Abutment Teeth: Fixed bridges require healthy abutment teeth to support them. If these teeth deteriorate, the bridge may become compromised, necessitating replacements.
- Potential for Decay: Abutment teeth are still susceptible to decay, and maintaining good oral hygiene is essential to prevent cavities and maintain the bridge’s stability.
- Invasive Procedure: The preparation of abutment teeth involves the removal of enamel, which is an irreversible process. This may not be desirable for some individuals.
- Limited Solution: Fixed bridges are not suitable for patients with extensive tooth loss or when multiple adjacent teeth are missing. In such cases, alternative solutions like dental implants might be more appropriate.
c) Dental Implants
How They Work: Dental implants function as permanent replacements for missing teeth. They are surgically placed into the jawbone, where they fuse with the bone in a process called osseointegration. Once anchored, they serve as a foundation for attaching custom-made crowns/ bridges or dentures mimicking the look and function of natural teeth.
Suitable Choice: Dental implants are an ideal choice when patients seek a long-term, stable solution for tooth loss. They are especially recommended when healthy adjacent teeth are present, as implants do not rely on neighbouring teeth for support. Additionally, dental implants are preferred for their natural aesthetics, restored function, and the preservation of jawbone health. However, eligibility for dental implants depends on factors like overall health and bone density, which should be assessed during a consultation with a prosthodontist.
Advantages of Dental Implants:
- Permanent Solution: Dental implants offer a permanent and stable replacement for missing teeth. They are surgically implanted into the jawbone, providing a long-lasting foundation.
- Natural Aesthetics: Implants are custom-designed to match existing teeth, ensuring natural appearance in the right circumstances.
- Restored Function: Dental implants restore full oral function, allowing patients to chew, speak, and bite just like with natural teeth. This improvement in function can significantly enhance overall quality of life.
- Preservation of Adjacent Teeth: Unlike some other tooth replacement options, dental implants do not rely on adjacent teeth for support. This means neighbouring natural teeth remain unaffected and do not require alterations.
- Bone Health: Dental implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing bone loss that often occurs after tooth extraction. This helps maintain the structural integrity of the jaw over time.
Limitations of Dental Implants:
- Surgical Procedure: The placement of dental implants involves oral surgery, which can be more invasive than other tooth replacement options. Cost: Dental implants can be initially more expensive compared to alternatives like bridges or dentures. However, their long-term durability and benefits may justify the investment for many patients.
- Time-Consuming Process: Getting dental implants typically spans several months, involving multiple appointments for surgery, healing, and restoration placement.
- Eligibility: Some individuals may not be suitable candidates for dental implants due to medical conditions, insufficient bone density, or other factors. A comprehensive evaluation is necessary to determine eligibility.
- Maintenance: While dental implants are relatively low maintenance, they require regular oral care and routine dental check-ups to ensure their long-term success.
Harcourt Dental Clinic in Dublin
To discover more about your treatment options if you are missing teeth due to periodontal disease at Harcourt Dental Clinic in Dublin, please call our reception team at 01 475 1313 or send us an enquiry: Request a dental consultation online.
You will receive the highest standard of care when choosing Harcourt Dental Clinic in Dublin for dental implants, dentures, bridges and full mouth reconstructions.
Our Principal Dentist, Dr Kevin Gilmore is one of Ireland’s leading dentists specialising in prosthodontics and restorative dentistry.
As Dublin’s premiere dental specialist practice, we provide a complete range of treatments including Periodontics, Prosthodontics, Orthodontics, Endodontics and Oral Surgery.