The Best Options to Replace Missing Teeth
With the amount of state-of-the-art prevention options and dental treatments available in modern dentistry, there are fewer needs for having to remove or extract a tooth or teeth. When something does go wrong with a tooth, our dentists at Spokane Dental will first try to do everything in their power to restore the tooth to an originally healthy function. A tooth removal is only performed as a last resort.
Losing a tooth can be a very traumatic and unsettling experience. Accident, fracture, injury, gum disease, and severe dental decay are major reasons for tooth loss or removal. When a tooth is lost or removed, it is imperative that they are replaced to avoid dental and cosmetic problems in the future.
Dangers of Missing Teeth
When a tooth is lost, the bone in the jaw that originally helped to support that tooth starts to atrophy and causes the adjacent teeth to tip or shift into the open space of the missing tooth. Similarly, the tooth below and above will start to gravitate towards the open space since there is not an opposing tooth to apply pressure during your normal bite. These movements can create problems such as gum disease, decay, TMJ (jaw joint) issues, and excessive wear of certain teeth. These movements will eventually compromise the beauty of your smile, health of your bite, and your chewing abilities.
Options for Missing Teeth
Whether you are searching for tooth replacement options to improve your smile or simply maintain the health of your teeth, here are the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular tooth replacement procedures in dentistry today.
Removable Partial Denture
Dentures are the replacement of a missing tooth or teeth with artificial teeth. These artificial teeth are fixed to a plastic, gum-colored base, which connects to a metal structure. Artificial teeth have a dependency on neighboring, or adjacent teeth, since the metal anchors to your natural teeth. Mechanical support is also required of the remaining gum edge and original bones.
Removable partial dentures are one of the most affordable tooth replacement options, however, they are not as visually appealing or firm as other teeth replacement. Some people experience discomfort from time to time and they are not considered a permanent solution, as they may need replacement or adjustment from time to time.
- Affordable tooth replacement option
- Can be used for more than one tooth
- Removable for ease of cleaning
- Less stable than other tooth replacement options
- Can interfere with chewing and speech
Removable Complete Denture
Removable complete dentures are generally used as an alternative after teeth removal while the gums are healing – about 8 to 12 weeks, making it a temporary solution. Removable complete dentures can be used as a replacement of all of the teeth in the lower and upper jaw. They are not long-lasting because the gums and bones typically shrink during the healing process and will not fit.
- More natural looking than partial dentures
- Removable for ease of cleaning
- Must be removed regularly and cleaned
- Can be painful if not fitted correctly
- Can shift in the mouth causing chewing and speech problems
A fixed bridge is considered to be a more permanent solution than dentures because the bridge is connected securely. This option may be explored if our dentists at Spokane Dental certify that the surrounding teeth are strong enough to support an artificial tooth. In many cases, the teeth adjacent will have to be sized down in order for a bridge to be constructed. Reducing teeth size involves the removal of enamel in order to create space for the artificial tooth.
A fixed bridge can restore the beauty of your smile for 10 to 12 years before a replacement bridge is needed. The downside to this tooth replacement option is the irrevocable condition your surrounding teeth incur. They are exposed to the risk of nerve strain, which can require constant treatment of root canal.
- Prevents neighboring teeth from moving
- Reduces risks of bone loss
- More permanent than dentures
- Requires work on surrounding teeth
- Risk of collapsing if adjoining teeth aren’t strong enough
- Will eventually need to be replaced
A dental implant is widely boasted as the best teeth replacement option available today. Since its inception, it has quickly become the choice for patients experiencing tooth loss and an effective, long-term, tooth replacement option.
Dental implants are popular due to their strength, durability, firmness, and effectiveness. They can address anything from a single to full teeth replacement. A dental implant procedure is expected to last for life. However, due its longevity this is the most expensive replacement option. The dental implant procedure involves the implantation of an artificial, titanium root into the affected jawbone. The healing process takes about 2 to 6 months before an artificial tooth is planted to the jawbone underneath the gum tissue.
- Natural, comfortable and pleasing look
- Most like your natural teeth
- No work necessary on neighboring teeth
- Promotes a healthy jawbone
- Life-lasting solution
- Most expensive replacement option
- Requires oral surgery
- May require crown replacement
Cost of Replacing Missing Teeth
When it comes to replacing a missing tooth or missing teeth, one of your primary factors may be the cost. In terms of expense, dental implants are the most expensive teeth replacement solution because they require surgery. They are however, the closest result to your natural teeth and require little to no maintenance. As a result, dental implant procedures can cost up to $6,000.
In comparison, a bridge is a less expensive option, typically costing around $3,000 on the higher end of things. Partial dentures may only cost a few hundred dollars, but the location and size will impact the price, and can even drive it up thousands. Naturally, full dentures are more expensive and can, in some cases, even rival the costs of a dental implant.
Your tooth replacement decision isn’t something you make on your own. Dr. Jonathan Smith and Dr. Jon Sok at Spokane Dental can help walk you through the options that are available and the best course of action for your situation. Whether you are missing a tooth or several teeth because of a disease, injury, accident or another issue, you don’t have to live life without a beautiful smile. Contact us at Spokane Dental today to discover what options you have for tooth replacement.