Missing teeth can have a negative impact on your health and appearance. Teeth can be lost for many different reasons such as injury, gum disease, decay, or a crack. When you do not have a full set of teeth, it can affect you in more ways than one- including a lack of self-confidence when you smile. Besides appearance, the remaining teeth can shift and move, impacting the ability to chew and speak. This is one of the reasons why it is important to see a dental provider to replace a missing tooth promptly. Fortunately for patients, there are different ways to do so.
The best option to replace a missing tooth varies based on your specific needs, but keep reading to learn more!
What would cause the need for a tooth replacement?
There are many reasons why you may have a missing tooth- or teeth- and consider tooth replacement options. Did you know that nearly one-quarter of people over age 65 have lost all of their teeth? The causes include tooth trauma and injury, rampant dental caries, and cracked teeth; however, the biggest reason why people are missing teeth is due to gum disease which afflicts one in seven adults, but by age 65, one in four seniors have some degree of this condition, ranging from gingivitis to severe periodontal disease. When left untreated, gum disease leads to bone loss around teeth and is the prime cause of tooth loss among adults in this country.
What is the Best Option for Replacing Missing Teeth?
So, what is the best option for replacing missing teeth? Ask any dental provider and they will tell you that it depends on the condition of your teeth. That is, are you missing one or several teeth? What is your age? Are you in pain or discomfort?
These are a few of the questions that should be addressed when reviewing and deciding on your tooth replacement options.
Dental Implants are one approach to replacing a missing tooth. Implants are a great option for a single missing tooth, but can be done on multiple missing teeth as well. With dental implants, an artificial, titanium root will be inserted into your jawbone. Once this is healed, a crown, bridge, or denture can be installed on top of the artificial root. Properly installed dental implants can last a lifetime, they look like natural teeth, and they do not negatively affect the neighboring teeth. Dental implants are sometimes used to provide support for a denture, partial denture, or bridge.
Speaking of a dental bridge, this is another option to replace a missing tooth, missing teeth, or even a missing front tooth. A bridge connects a replacement tooth to adjacent healthy teeth, essentially bridging the gap between one or more of your missing teeth.
A bridge is composed of crowns, which are specially made for your teeth by anchoring to sturdier, healthier teeth on each side of the gap. The teeth made to fill the gap are usually crafted from ceramic, porcelain fused to metal alloys or gold. They provide the missing support for a prosthetic tooth to dramatically improve the appearance and bite for the patient.
A partial denture is another solution for a single missing tooth or missing teeth. A partial denture is removable and may be temporary or permanent. In some cases, a partial denture will benefit from dental implants for stability and support. These teeth are crafted of synthetic materials that mimic the look of your natural teeth. Depending on your mouth, some partial dentures may have precise attachments to your natural teeth, making your partial denture more stable and comfortable. Your dentist may rely on what teeth remain to determine the best course of action for achieving a natural look and feel that is comfortable for you, the patient.
Complete dentures replace the individual’s entire arch of teeth. Complete dentures can be made for the top or bottom of your mouth (or both!), and the underlying reasons for needing full dentures can vary. Complete dentures are recommended only in cases where the natural teeth cannot be saved. Some may have had trauma, while others may have had extensive decay or gum disease. Compared to having no teeth, dentures may improve an individual’s bite, ability to chew, speech and articulation. While adapting to life with complete dentures is often challenging, your dentist can help guide you on making the process more comfortable and predictable.
Temporary partial dentures are sometimes called ‘flipper teeth’ and are primarily used while waiting for a more permanent solution to dental loss, or simply, a missing tooth. This replacement tooth is usually made from acrylic resin and other materials that provide stability to the tooth. These are often used cosmetically, such as for a traumatized or missing front tooth, while a more permanent tooth is being crafted. Since it can take considerable time and money for implants or dentures, a flipper provides a way to enhance the appearance that is timely and affordable.
What is the Cheapest Way to Replace a Missing Tooth?
When it comes down to tooth replacement cost, Flipper is the cheapest way to replace a missing tooth. Flippers can cosmetically appear natural, but keep in mind that this is a temporary solution to the problem. Flippers are not durable and can be challenging to eat with.
You get what you pay for. A partial denture often takes more time to make and costs more than a flipper, but partial dentures are made using higher quality materials that are more durable and esthetic. Bridges and implants, while more expensive, offer value in a more natural feel and function.
If you are missing a tooth, ask your dentist to describe all of your options and provide fee estimates for each. Making an investment in your mouth pays off in many ways, such as increased self-confidence, ability to chew, and overall comfort.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace One Tooth in Your Mouth?
As for the cost of replacing a tooth, it depends. We could give an estimate – but that estimate would be vague. Depending on the type of procedure and any dental insurance coverage, the price will vary. The best way to retrieve an accurate estimate of your distinct dental work is through an evaluation and discussion with your dentist directly.
Dental patients also have the option to do nothing; that is, not do anything regarding missing teeth. The repercussions, however, make a compelling argument for you to replace a missing tooth and look closer at tooth replacement options.
Talk to Dr. Irby at Irby Dentistry in Roanoke about tooth replacement options to replace a missing tooth- or an entire set of teeth. Enhance your smile and improve self-confidence today; call or visit to learn more.