The Best Tooth Replacement Options: Your Complete Guide
Frustrated because you can only gaze at that corn on a cob and not take a bite because of that missing tooth or teeth?
It must have been hard, huh? But why prolong the suffering and not consider a tooth replacement?
Yes. You read it right. You can replace your tooth or set of teeth; many options exist.
In fact, according to statistics, 90% of Americans who lose some natural teeth opt to have dentures. Another study shows an increase of 5.7% in the prevalence of dental implants. And the global dental implant market is expected to reach $13 billion by 2023.
In other words, there’s no shame in replacing those missing teeth. And there’s always hope in restoring your smile to its natural beauty.
So, if you plan to have a dental visit and have that tooth gap fixed, we'll discuss all available options in this guide.
We've even broken down each option's pros and cons, cost, and financing alternatives for you.
But before we dive into the discussion, let's start with the fundamental question: Why replace a missing tooth?
Importance of replacing missing teeth
Losing a tooth can be challenging in terms of the physical discomfort it entails and the emotional distress it brings. You might not take a missing tooth for granted but not repairing them can have dire consequences and may affect the following:
When you lose a tooth, your jawbone tends to recede, and so are your gums, leading to periodontal diseases. Your teeth will also shift, causing bite problems that can wear and tear your natural teeth. These issues can highly impact your oral health.
Therefore, to solve these problems, it is advisable to replace the missing teeth. It will not only prevent oral issues but also promote better oral health.
Self-esteem and confidence
Research on oral disorders such as tooth loss in adolescents profoundly impacts young people's psychological behaviors.
The teeth support your jawline and the muscle on your cheeks and lips. With regular teeth, your mouth and other body parts in speaking and eating will function normally. Any abnormality in your mouth, specifically in your teeth, may cause a change in how you appear, communicate, and interact with people.
Your facial features and appearance may be factored into building your confidence. And your self-image may also play a significant role in your social life.
Thus, by avoiding further cosmetic issues related to a missing tooth, you may live a normal life without fearing being judged by your appearance.
Aside from cosmetic concerns, a missing tooth can threaten your oral health, overall well-being, and self-confidence. Hence, it is crucial to consider tooth replacement options to prevent such problems and protect your dental and emotional health.
Our teeth serve multiple functions beyond chewing. They are also used to shape the kinetic of phonation, breathe, maintain a patent airway, and serve as a vertical dimension of the face. However, losing one or more teeth can significantly impact their overall function.
Your teeth are supported by natural roots composed of tissue and ligament fibers that keep them firmly in place. In addition to anchoring your teeth, these roots also play a crucial role in nourishing and stimulating your jawbone, which helps to keep it healthy and strong.
However, when a tooth is lost, the absence of its natural root can lead to a lack of stimulation and nourishment for the jawbone, causing it to shrink and deteriorate over time. This process can further weaken the surrounding teeth, leading to further tooth loss and potentially even changes in your facial structure.
Therefore, replacing missing teeth with dental implants or other restorative procedures is vital to maintain the health of your jawbone and overall oral health.
Losing a tooth can lead to poor oral health and dental problems, such as gum disease, infections, and bone loss. Research from the University of Illinois, Chicago College of Dentistry, and Harvard Medical School found poor oral health can lead to health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory diseases, and pregnancy complications.
Losing your teeth can also impact mastication or your chewing process. Foods must be properly digested so your body can easily absorb the nutrients you get from them.
Common tooth replacement options
Today’s dental procedures and materials have advanced exponentially with modern technology. With this development comes various effective tooth replacement options.
But what exactly are their differences? What option is the best suited for you?
To know more about these options and to make an informed decision, we'll compare each option based on their pros and cons, costs, maintenance, and lifespan.
Dental implants are dental devices surgically inserted into your jawbone, acting as root replacements for missing teeth. Implants include a dental implant body, abutment, and fixation screws. It can also support other artificial teeth, such as bridges, crowns, and dentures.
Studies suggest that this procedure is ideal for patients with healthy jawbones who have lost their teeth due to injuries, periodontal diseases, and failure of endodontics. A dental implant lasts 15 to 20 years with proper maintenance and care.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of having a dental implant.
• Behaves like natural teeth
• Prevents bone loss and gum diseases
• Keeps adjacent teeth from moving
• Prevents facial sagging and premature aging
• Improves oral health
• More expensive compared to other options
• Requires surgery
• Needs multiple appointments
• Takes time to heal
• Most insurance companies won’t cover it
A dental bridge closes the gap in your teeth due to tooth loss. As its name suggests, it acts like a bridge connected to the teeth on either side of the gap. It has two parts: the abutment teeth and pontics. It is typically made of porcelain infused with metal to imitate your natural teeth. It is an ideal choice for people with few missing teeth.
It can last for 5 to 15 years when properly taken care of.
• Maintains the shape of your face
• Prevent remaining teeth from shifting
• Looks like your natural teeth
• Takes less time to be done
• Requires alteration of your natural teeth
• Do not address bone loss
• Shorter lifespan than implants
Dentures are artificial teeth and gums customized to fit your mouth and replace missing teeth. It can be made of porcelain, plastic, or hard resin. Dentures are the ideal option for people who do not have healthy jaws or gums.
There are two types of dentures, full dentures, and partial dentures. Full dentures are commonly used when you lose all your teeth from the lower or upper gum line. Conversely, partial dentures are used when you lose many teeth that dental bridges can’t fix.
Dentures can last 7 to 10 years, depending on how you care for them. To prolong the lifespan of your dentures, you should wash them properly because bacteria, plaque, and tartar can still build up on them. You should also remove them when sleeping and soak them in warm water or a special solution. However, you should avoid soaking solutions if you have metals on your dentures because they can tarnish them.
• Provide a natural appearance
• Can be cleaned easily
• More affordable compared to other options
• Do not require surgery
• Can be modified easily
• Bites can be weaker with dentures
• They sometimes slip, making it hard to speak
• Must be refitted constantly
• Cannot address bone loss
Dental crowns are artificial tooth-shaped caps that can be placed over a tooth or an implant. It is commonly used with dental bridges and dental implants when replacing a missing tooth. A tooth crown can be made of metal, porcelain, resin, and ceramic.
• Looks like natural teeth
• Can restore dental implants
• Can be quite expensive compared to other options
Got further questions? Talk to our dentist now!
Cost Comparison for Tooth Replacement Options
Dental cost is one factor you should consider when choosing a tooth replacement option, for each option’s price vary.
We’ve broken down their prices so you can compare them and know what may fit your budget.
Tooth Replacement Option
|Cost with Insurance||Cost without Insurance||Other Financing Options|
|Dental Implant||$1000 to $1500 less than the total price||$1,500 - $8,000 per teeth||Dental loans, medical credit cards, government assistance programs|
|Dental Bridges||50% of the total price||$500 - $5,000 or more||Dental loans, medical credit cards, government assistance programs|
|Dentures||50% of the total price||$600 – $15000 or more||Dental loans, medical credit cards, government assistance programs|
|Dental Crowns||$1000 to $1500 less than the total price||$1,000 - $ 2,500 or more||Dental loans, medical credit cards, government assistance programs|
The table above shows dental bridges are the cheapest procedure for tooth replacement. However, it may vary depending on different factors, such as the material used. Considering the cost, you should know if your insurance provider covers the dental procedure. If not, search for alternative financing options that cater to your needs.
If you're leaning towards getting dental crowns, read this comprehensive guide on dental crown costs.
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How to Choose the Best Tooth Replacement Option
Now let's answer the most crucial question:
How does one choose the best tooth replacement option?
It's like any other investment. You wanted to get the most of what you paid for. It should give you comfort and peace of mind knowing it will last long. You also want to ensure that it will function as expected, having minimal risk of future problems. Most importantly, you choose what fits your budget.
That said, consider these factors when choosing the best tooth replacement option:
The replacement should withstand normal wear and tear and last long without breaking or returning to the dentist for another replacement.
If you have the budget to pay for a tooth replacement option that will last up to twenty years and can look as if no treatment has been done, go for a dental implant.
Remember, though, that the procedure requires surgery and multiple dental visits and might take longer than other procedures.
Matching the natural color and shape of your surrounding teeth is one of the goals of replacing a missing tooth. But other replacement options, specifically dentures, may not be possible.
If you don’t prefer dentures, crowns (next to implants) are considered one of today's most natural-looking tooth replacement options. It also costs cheaper than implants but is way pricier than dentures.
When discussing comfort, dental implants can be the best option for tooth replacement. Since an implant is anchored directly to the jawbone, it provides a stable and secure foundation, thus allowing you to eat and speak comfortably.
There are, however, certain situations where dental crowns may be more comfortable than implants. For example, suppose the damaged or decayed tooth has a strong and healthy root. In that case, a dental crown may be more conservative and comfortable than removing and replacing the natural tooth with an implant.
But generally, dental implants can provide a more comfortable and natural feeling than dental crowns because they provide a stable and secure base for the replacement tooth.
You may not want to choose dentures over a crown or an implant if you want a comfortable replacement. Though affordable, dentures can cause slight discomfort at first. Nevertheless, your mouth should adjust to the dentures over time.
While all tooth replacement options require some maintenance, others may require more care.
For example, if you opt for dental implants, you must maintain good oral hygiene to prevent infection and ensure the longevity of the implants. This includes regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings. Proper cleaning and care are also crucial for dentures to prevent bacterial growth and maintain their shape and function.
Overall, choosing a tooth replacement option that fits your lifestyle and maintenance needs is important for long-term success and oral health.
Tooth replacement options can vary significantly in cost, depending on the complexity of the procedure, the materials used, and the location of the treatment.
In addition to the upfront costs, it's essential to consider the long-term costs of maintaining and replacing the tooth replacement option. For example, dentures may require more maintenance, repair, or replacement over time, adding to the overall cost.
Fixed replacement options such as implants, crowns, and bridges require less maintenance. You do need to continue brushing and flossing your teeth regularly to keep your surrounding teeth and gums healthy and maintain good oral hygiene.
Overall Oral Health
Your oral health, medical history, and any underlying conditions, lifestyle, or medications that may affect healing should also be considered when choosing a tooth replacement option. They can also impact the success and longevity of your treatment.
For example, a person with periodontitis or gum disease can't qualify for a dental implant. An infection can develop around the implant and might cause the implant to fail. Your periodontist may recommend other treatment options, such as a dental bridge or dentures.
Your lifestyle can also impact your decision in choosing a tooth replacement. For example, suppose you have a physically demanding job or active participation in contact sports. In that case, there may be better options than a removable denture, as it can become dislodged or damaged.
Similarly, if you frequently travel, a treatment requiring frequent follow-up appointments may be better.
Tooth Replacement Procedures in Culver City
Each tooth replacement option has its benefits and drawbacks, and the best choice for you will depend on your individual needs and circumstances.
If you're considering tooth replacement, talk to our dentist at Culver City Dentist United Dental Care so you can research and compare different treatments.
So, don't wait any longer to take the first step towards a brighter smile and healthier oral condition. Make an appointment with our experts today and explore the best alternative to replace your missing tooth.