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Missing Teeth

Missing Teeth?

One or more missing teeth can have a significant influence on how we feel about our appearance, particularly if it can be seen when we smile or talk. It’s not always something that can be helped. Sometimes we lose teeth as a result of an accident, an infection or severe tooth decay and it’s not convenient to get fixed straight away. Let’s face it, replacing one or more teeth can be quite expensive. Apart from the obvious cosmetic effects of missing teeth, there is also the physical aspects of having missing teeth that can add to the discomfort.

Every tooth counts as it ensures a healthy jaw bone and gums and avoids you looking older than you actually are. At OptiSmile we have dealt with many cases of missing teeth, and it’s always staggering to see the difference a restored smile can make to a person’s appearance and consequently their confidence.

The dental technologies we use in our practice are chosen and used with the specific aim of offering patients the best solutions available. So when you come to OptiSmile for implants, bridges or veneers, you can be assured that we’ll work with you to design the best possible smile for you.


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  • Why Is Having Missing Teeth A Problem?
Why Is Having Missing Teeth A Problem?

The first thing people think about are the aesthetic effects of missing teeth. A healthy smile can go a long way and having gaps in your mouth can influence how we feel in social situations. The very obvious initial effects of missing teeth can be profoundly psychological, but the less obvious, ongoing effects of tooth loss can continue, even after the initial loss of a tooth or teeth.

Tooth loss continues to be a problem for the jaw, because of the effect of tooth loss on bones. Teeth stimulate the jaw bone. The jaw bone is reliant on this interplay between teeth, gums and bone to maintain it’s form and density. Similar to how inactivity can result in bone loss and eventual problems when we are older, it’s the same for the jaw.

The teeth make ongoing contact with each other all through the course of the day, these little interactions stimulate the periodontal ligament, in which each tooth is suspended, and this in turn tells the surrounding bone to remodel and ultimately strengthen itself in response.

In just the first year after tooth loss there can be as much as a 25% decrease in the bone width in the space near a missing tooth. This can lead to up to 4 millimeters’ worth of bone height in the years to follow. Loss in bone width leads to loss in bone height which can start causing problems with chewing and speaking. Further tooth loss can also often be the results because of the surrounding gum areas becoming weaker. Further tooth loss often leads to further functional problems which simply perpetuates the problem.

With time the actual jaw bone can melt away, which can result in the face partially collapsing, causing facial deformation, causing further aesthetic issues.

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  • What Are The Solutions Available?
What Are The Solutions Available?
Solutions Advantages Disadvantages
Implant Solutions
Tooth-supported fixed bridges

Dental implants are surgically positioned metal posts. They are placed into the jawbone beneath the  gums. Replacement teeth are then placed onto the posts.

  • Implants provide support to surrounding teeth
  • Grounded in the actual gum line, providing stimulation that encourages bone retention
  • Long term option
  • Minimal wear on surrounding teeth
  • Doesn’t require regular check-ups after procedure
  • Isn’t likely to influence oral functions such as speaking or eating
  • Initial implant procedure can be invasive
  • Can be a costly procedure
Non-implant Solutions
Tooth-supported fixed bridges (traditional bridges)

This involves the placement of crowns on either side of the missing tooth and placing a porcelain pontic in between to serve as a new artificial tooth.

  • Popular option for a single missing tooth
  • Non-invasive
  • Cost effective
  • Ongoing care and maintenance
  • Can potentially place strain on surrounding teeth
  • Damage to surrounding teeth due to placement of crown
  • Bone deterioration may still occur as the tooth isn’t implanted in the gum line
  • Might not last as long as an implant and may require more ongoing care and maintenance
Removable partial dentures

A removable frame holding one or more artificial teeth.

  • Popular option for multiple missing teeth
  • Non-invasive
  • Cost effective
  • Not as stable as dental implants
  • Can influence speech
  • Doesn’t look as natural as implants
Resin bonded bridge (Maryland bonded bridge)

Artificial (porcelain) teeth supported by a metal or porcelain framework. Metal or porcelain wings on one or either side of the tooth is bonded to your existing teeth.

  • Attaches to adjacent teeth to provide support
  • Minimally invasive
  • Less costly than implants
  • Minimal damage to surrounding teeth
  • Limited longevity
  • Doesn’t support surrounding gum area and bone, so deterioration may still occur
Removable complete dentures

A removable frame holding a whole set of artificial teeth.

  • Low cost alternative to implants
  • Doesn’t require surgery
  • Quicker process than implants
  • Can irritate gums
  • Doesn’t prevent bone deterioration
  • Can shift when one speaks, speaks, yawns or coughs

How OptiSmile Can Help You

At OptiSmile we believe in only providing the best solutions for our patients, which is why we mainly do implants. They are the best long term solution in terms of durability and overall maxillofacial health. We believe it’s genuinely best for our patients and continue to see the positive effects this type of surgery can have on a person’s mental and physical health.

What is the procedure?

We’ll normally have an initial consultation with you to evaluate the state of your teeth and based off of that we’ll make a recommendation. If you choose to go ahead with the procedure for dental implants the procedure will be as follows, however you can also learn more about dental implants on our comprehensive dental implants page.

  1. We take a 3D scan of your mouth
  2. A digital impression gets taken of affected area
  3. The computer designs and the CEREC carves a new tooth
  4. A guide is created for correct placement of your titanium implant
  5. The implant is placed in the exact position and the new tooth is attached

Normally this kind of procedure would require at least two visits to complete. We know your time is valuable, so we use the amazing CEREC device to complete the entire restoration in one sitting.

You are welcome to get in touch with us to book an initial consultation or speak to our team via WhatsApp if you have any particular questions regarding the restoration process for a missing tooth. We are happy to answer any of your questions and we’ll always work with our patients to find a solution.

If you are worried about the costs involved, there are companies that offer medical loans particularly for these cosmetic reasons, as we understand that medical aids don’t always cover these procedures. You can get more information on finance options on our finance options page.

There is always a solution, don’t let missing teeth prevent you from leading a happy healthy life.



Suite 303, The Point Mall,
76 Regent Rd,
Sea Point
Cape Town
Western Cape
South Africa

info@optismile.co.za


+27 87 702 6886

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