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Missing Tooth Replacement: Different Options, Comparisons, and Benefits

Missing Tooth Replacement: Different Options, Comparisons, and Benefits

Over 100 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth- and this is expected to increase over the next 20 years. Tooth loss occurs due to a variety of things: decay, gum disease, injury, cancer, wear and tear, and many other things. However, you don’t have to live with missing teeth. There are lots of options for replacing them, including:
  • Dental implants
  • Bridges
  • Removable dentures
  • Fixed dentures
In this article, we’ll go over each one of these options: explaining what they are, the advantages versus disadvantages of each, and the average cost of each. We’ll also give you tips on how to decide which one is right for you.

Causes and Impacts of Missing Teeth

Everyone loses their primary, or baby, teeth by the time they are an adult. That being said, the 32 secondary, or permanent, teeth that replace those should not fall out. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. There are many people who are missing at least one tooth and some are missing all of their teeth. There are several reasons why you may be missing teeth:
  • Genetics
  • Gum disease
  • Injury
There are also several dental conditions and behaviors that increase your risk of missing teeth, such as:
  • Smoking
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Tooth decay from cavities
  • Lack of access to dental care
  • Poor nutrition
Finally, there are some medical conditions that can cause tooth loss:
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Emphysema
  • Heart disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
If you are missing teeth, it doesn’t matter what the cause, you need to have it addressed as soon as possible. Missing teeth has a significant impact on your life in the following ways:
  • Difficulty chewing/swallowing
  • Lowered self-esteem/confidence
  • Dietary issues
  • Insufficient eating
  • Weakened jaw muscles/structure
  • Altered bite
  • Increased risk of additional tooth loss, other dental issues, cavities, and more.

4 Options for Replacing Missing Teeth

Dental Implants

Dental implants are one of the most popular options for replacing missing teeth. In fact, more than 3 million Americans have them. They can be used to replace one tooth or as support for a bridge or dentures to replace multiple teeth. There are 3 main types of dental implants:

Advantages

There are several advantages of dental implants, including:
  • Look/feel/function like natural teeth
  • Last a lifetime with proper maintenance
  • Doesn’t require natural teeth to be reduced
  • Won’t slip out or make a clicking noise
  • Helps prevent bone loss
  • Improves speech
  • Keeps surrounding teeth stable
  • Prevents facial sagging

Disadvantages

Dental implants are one of the most expensive options, and you may experience complications. Research indicates that approximately 5% to 10% of implants fail at some point- which is likely due to improper implantation or failure to follow aftercare instructions. Plus, dental implants may require several appointments and you’ll have to undergo surgery, which increases your risk of infection and other issues.

Costs

There are several things that are considered to determine the cost of dental implants. On the high end,  the cost can be up to $4,000 per implant. That being said, if you need to replace multiple teeth, you may spend $15,000 to $20,000 per arch.

Bridges

Dental bridges are customized, tooth replacement options designed to replace one or more missing teeth. You have four options when it comes to dental bridges:
  • Traditional bridges
  • Cantilever bridges
  • Maryland bridges
  • Implant-supported bridges

Advantages

There are several advantages of dental bridges:
  • Cost less compared to implants
  • No bone grafts required
  • Process is quicker than implants
  • More secure than dentures

Disadvantages

There are also a few disadvantages of dental bridges:
  • Requires adjacent healthy teeth to be reduced
  • Maryland bridges may damage neighboring teeth and are not resilient to chewing
  • Implant-supported options cost more and take longer
  • Don’t last as long as implants

Cost

The cost of the dental bridge depends on the type you’re getting. On average, you’ll pay $1,500 or more for a Maryland bridge and $15,000 or more for implant-supported bridges.

Removable Dentures

Removable dentures are a great option if you are missing several teeth. There are two types of removable dentures available:
  • Complete dentures: ideal for patients who have no natural teeth. Immediate dentures can be placed immediately after extractions, while conventional dentures are placed approximately 2 months after extractions. Immediate dentures are basically like a band-aid, to be worn during healing.
  • Partial dentures: ideal for patients who still have some natural teeth and are connected to a metal framework in the mouth to secure them in place.

Advantages

Removable dentures have the following advantages:
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Don’t require healthy teeth
  • Cost effective
  • Easy to care for

Disadvantages

Of course, there are also some disadvantages associated with removable dentures:
  • May be uncomfortable
  • May make a clicking noise
  • Must be replaced regularly
  • May become loose
  • Multiple procedures required
  • May cause gums to become irritated

Cost

On average, removable dentures cost $1,300 to $3,000 per arch. This cost may vary based on whether you need to have any extractions done.

Fixed Dentures

Fixed dentures, also known as permanent dentures, are prosthetic porcelain/plastic teeth fixed to a plastic base. The base is attached to dental implants in your jaw. There are several options for fixed dentures:
  • Complete fixed dentures
  • Partial fixed dentures
    • Fixed bridge
    • Implant-supported fixed bridge

Advantages

Fixed dentures offer several advantages, including:
  • Ability to eat without difficulty
  • Maintains the appearance of your face
  • Won’t fall out
  • Improves smile
  • Long-lasting with proper care
  • Function like natural teeth
  • Prevent any remaining teeth from shifting and becoming misaligned
  • Stable in mouth
  • Helps normal speech

Disadvantages

However, there are also some disadvantages:
  • Extractions may be required
  • Increased risk of infection/inflammation
  • Costs more than removable dentures
  • Harder to clean than removable dentures

Cost

Due to surgery and time requirements, fixed dentures cost approximately $8,000 per arch.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are lots of options for replacing your missing teeth. You don’t have to suffer. Each option has advantages and disadvantages. The right choice for you depends on several areas:
  • Your overall oral health
  • How many teeth you’re missing
  • Your budget
  • Your preferences
Speak with your dentist regarding the best option for you. If cost is an issue, the office staff can work with your insurance to determine coverage and offer advice on any financing options they may have. You can reach out to your Ammons dentistry team here. Camden Office Charleston Office James Island Office Summerville Office
Dentist in Charleston, Summerville, & Camden

Dentist in Charleston, Summerville, & Camden

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