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:
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:
There are also several dental conditions and behaviors that increase your risk of missing teeth, such as:
Poor dental hygiene
Tooth decay from cavities
Lack of access to dental care
Finally, there are some medical conditions that can cause tooth loss:
Increased risk of additional tooth loss, other dental issues, cavities, and more.
4 Options for Replacing Missing Teeth
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:
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
Keeps surrounding teeth stable
Prevents facial sagging
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.
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.
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:
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
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
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 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.
Removable dentures have the following advantages:
Don’t require healthy teeth
Easy to care for
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
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, 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:
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