Free-End Gaps

A “free-end gap“ describes missing teeth at the end of a row. Usually, a removable denture comes into play in these cases and is embedded in the existing terminal teeth by means of clips or telescopes. In the case of a removable device of this sort, we can observe a process of embedment near the tooth as well as the application of the synthetic foundation including the artificial teeth on the gums.

The main disadvantage is that this terminal tooth is exposed to a considerable burden and therefore may very well be lost at some point. The function of the supporting pillar thus wanders on to the next tooth, the denture needs to be extended, the leverage effect increases, and everything starts over again. However, the actual problem is to be found in the area of the mucosa-supported denture. The “chewing center“ is located in the posterior region; here, extreme pressure is continually exerted on the soft, flexible gums. As a result, the mucosa-supported denture may sink in by one to two millimeters. This circumstance brings about an unphysiological load on the bone which becomes noticeable in the form of a degenerating jaw bone or a fracture of the terminal abutment tooth. Furthermore, a removable partial denture with metal clips frequently causes a foreign body sensation which multiple patients perceive to be unpleasant.

For these reasons, a free-end gap constitutes a clear indication for an implant placement as this is the only reliable way to restore truly stable teeth. In the case of three missing molars, the situation can be solved reliably by means of a couple of implants as well as an implant-supported bridge – this constitutes the least expensive option for the patient. Upon request, every individual tooth can be replaced by an implant. The denture is manufactured by means of modern computer technology, i.e. the utterly quick and precise CAD/CAM method. Thanks to this method, the row of teeth can be restored completely.