When a tooth is missing due to loss or extraction, the surrounding teeth often shift – sometimes within very short periods of time. This change in tooth position can cause problems with the bite or gums that can be expensive and time-consuming to correct later. It is therefore wise to consider the replacement of a missing tooth as quickly as possible. Sometimes the bite may remain stable even after the loss of teeth, and in these situations your dentist may advise that you could leave the space if it is not an aesthetic problem for you.
A single or multiple missing teeth may be replaced by the fabrication of a fixed bridge. Teeth either side of the space can be used to anchor the bridge, either with some preparation of these teeth, or occasionally with no preparation at all. Alternatives to bridgework include dentures, dental implants, or to leave the space as it is. Typically, an implant is the treatment of choice as it is very predictable, does not involve any damage to adjacent teeth, and will last many years if looked after. Dentures are less ideal as they can promote collection of plaque and food debris around the adjacent teeth, but all these solutions have their place in the appropriate situation. Your dentist will always advise and discuss all the alternatives available to you.
This will provide you with an excellent aesthetic result and good long-term prognosis.
The preparation will involve drilling on healthy tooth tissue that otherwise would not need to have anything done to it.