Gum disease, tooth decay, injury, or a genetic condition can all be behind a missing tooth.
Regardless of the underlying cause for missing teeth, if you’re looking to replace a lost tooth or make adjustments to the overall appearance of your mouth, there are different treatments available.
Here’s a look at a few options to replace missing teeth, as well as the pros and cons of each option and cost information.
It is unfortunate when someone loses a tooth; however, we now have several options to replace it. Listed below are five of the most common ways to replace a missing tooth.
Removable Partial Denture
It can be very embarrassing when missing front teeth. A removable partial denture, which is worn during the day, can replace one or many missing teeth. Sometimes a partial denture may need metal clasps to help it stay in the mouth. Unfortunately, these metal clasps may be visible when speaking or smiling. Another disadvantage of a removable partial denture is that they can move a little when speaking or eating, which can be uncomfortable. We recommend taking them out at night and soaking them in a cleaning solution. With a partial denture, there is no need to file down any teeth, and this option is the most economical. A full denture can replace all missing teeth.
Your dentist may suggest complete dentures if you need to replace all of your teeth. But if you only need to replace some of your teeth, you might be a candidate for a removable partial denture.
This dental appliance consists of replacement teeth attached to a natural-looking pink base.
Your natural teeth stabilize and hold the removable plastic base in place, although some dentures have a clasp that adjoins to natural teeth.
The base is designed to match the color of your gums, and the teeth the color of your natural teeth. These dentures might be an option if you need to replace multiple teeth in one part of your mouth.
A temporary denture is a short term solution for a missing tooth. We call it a “flipper” because it flips in and out easily. This is used when the tooth will be restored in the future with a bridge or an implant, but we are waiting for the site to heal. These are much like a removable partial denture, but usually less sturdy, less bulky, and less expensive. We do not alter surrounding teeth when we make a flipper.
A bridge is an option when there are teeth on either side of the missing tooth. A bridge is a fixed solution that stays cemented in the mouth and does not come out. This method involves cutting down the teeth on either side of the missing tooth to be able to connect them. We recommend floss threaders, which slide under the bridge, to keep it clean. The disadvantages for bridges are cutting down teeth that might be perfectly healthy, and sometimes bridges in the lower jaw do not last as long since the jaw flexes and the unbendable bridge can spring a leak on one side or the other that allows for decay or bacteria to seep in. Sometimes the teeth next to the gap need a filling or a crown and this method can kill two birds with one stone; filling the gap and fixing the adjacent tooth at the same time. A bridge can replace one or two missing teeth easily, and sometimes more if there is enough support.
Fixed dental bridge
If you don’t want a dental implant, see if you’re a candidate for a fixed dental bridge. This tooth replacement option might be effective if you’re missing one or more teeth in the same area.
A fixed bridge essentially bridges a gap caused by a missing tooth using a dental prosthetic or artificial tooth. The prosthetic is attached to adjacent teeth and then bonded in place using dental cement.
A single bridge will range in price depending on the materials used and your geographic location. Some sources indicate a single bridge can cost from $3,000–$5,000. The procedure may be covered by some insurances.
Advantages of dental bridges
Bridges are beneficial because they feel and look like natural teeth. You might find they improve the appearance of your natural teeth on either side of the space.
They’re also typically cheaper than dental implants.
Disadvantages of dental bridges
It can be difficult to clean around the tooth underneath the bridge.
Bridges involve altering existing teeth. Also, a poorly fitted bridge could gradually damage adjoining teeth over time.
Also, plaque and bacteria could seep underneath the bridge, causing tooth decay or an infection.
An implant is a great way to replace a missing tooth. This solution feels and acts the most like a natural tooth when chewing, brushing, or smiling. The implant replaces the actual root of the missing tooth and heals in the bone for several months. We then place an abutment, to which a crown will be cemented. A major advantage is no need to alter any other teeth when placing an implant. An implant is a great solution for a single missing tooth, and even more, implants can replace many missing teeth. When smiling or talking there is no way to tell the difference between an implant and a natural tooth.
Dental implants are an option when you need to replace a single tooth, or when you’re missing several teeth in different areas of your mouth.
This treatment involves surgically mounting a titanium metal post or frame into your upper or lower jaw. A replacement tooth is then mounted to the implant, which allows the tooth to remain in place.
A dental implant provides a permanent base for a replacement tooth.
While cost will vary depending on several factors, on average, the estimated cost of a single tooth dental implant ranges from $3,000–$6,000.
Advantages of dental implants
The biggest advantage is that the replacement tooth resembles a natural tooth and can last for decades.
Another advantage of an implant is that nearby teeth aren’t involved (like with a bridge), so the rest of your teeth should remain intact.
Disadvantages of dental implants
This is a surgical procedure, so you’ll need to be in good physical health for surgery and recovery. Plus, the healing process can take several months.
Your dentist won’t attach the replacement tooth until the dental implant completely heals.
Also, dental implants tend to be more expensive than other replacement options for a missing tooth. The procedure may be covered by some insurances, but you might be responsible for deductibles and co-pays.
Whether you’re missing teeth because of tooth decay, gum disease, or an injury, talk to a dentist about options for replacing a missing tooth.
The cost will vary depending on the replacement option, the number of teeth you need to replace, and even your location.
Some health insurance may cover the replacement cost or at least some of it. If not, some dental offices offer payment or financing plans.
These treatment options are effective, and in most cases, a dental implant, bridge, or partial denture will last for years or even decades with regular brushing and care.
We love our patients and love to help them form a healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. Lancaster Dental is a dental clinic in Lancaster, Bellaire Acres, Westridge, Lancaster North, and Ten Mile Creek Neighborhood we have the best dental services in Texas: General & Cosmetic Dentistry, Crowns & Bridges, Dental Implants, Emergency Services, Teeth Whitening, Pediatric Dentistry, Braces & Invisalign For more information call us to answer all of your questions so you can get an appointment today.