If you are looking for options to replace missing teeth, you are in luck—dentistry has advanced to where we have several options available. Whether you have a single missing tooth or several teeth you would like to replace, Dr. Dennis and her team at Peach Valley Dental are experts at restoring your smile and your confidence. From front tooth replacement options to full dentures, we can work with you to help find your best solution.
Today’s Options to Replace Missing Teeth
A Dental Flipper as a Placeholder
One of the simplest options is a “flipper,” which is essentially a placeholder artificial tooth that is mounted on a retainer. If you are missing a single tooth, this can be an easy way to fill the space and give the appearance of a natural tooth. This is the most affordable option, but it does have drawbacks. You will need to remove it in order to eat since the tooth mounted on the retainer is not strong enough to hold up to chewing and biting. Ultimately, it is not a long-term solution, but rather a temporary measure. Flippers are usually used as a front tooth replacement option, rather than for a back tooth.
A dental bridge is a more permanent solution for replacing a missing tooth. With a bridge, we place crowns on the teeth adjacent to the missing one, with a solid piece that spans across the missing tooth. The end result looks like three individual teeth, even though it is one unit. Bridges often last at least 10 years with good maintenance, and they look great. Though more expensive than a flipper, you have the peace of mind knowing it is solid, you can eat on it, and it will look great for years to come.
You may have heard about dental implants as a great option to replace missing teeth. In fact, dental implants as we know them today have been available to patients since the 1970s. While implants remain the most expensive option, they are also the best in terms of longevity and overall benefits. Replacing missing teeth with implants is often a viable option. Dental implants consist of a titanium post that is placed into your jaw bone, and a crown that attaches to that post. They do a better job of stabilizing bone loss that comes with missing teeth over time. You can floss between an implant and your natural teeth, so your oral care routine will not change. The implant posts themselves can last indefinitely with good care, even if the crown needs to eventually be replaced.
Partials and Dentures for Missing Teeth
Replacing missing teeth with dentures or partials is another option in certain circumstances. A partial is a removable appliance with artificial teeth mounted on it that completely fill in any gaps. The same is true for dentures, though they replace all missing teeth in the upper or lower arch—if not both. In either case, because your appliance is removable, you will need to care for it differently than you would a bridge or implant. And like all prosthetic devices, they will need to be replaced over time.
We can also create an implant-supported denture, in which case your denture snaps onto several implants to give you better security. The appliance is still removable, but it fits more securely with the implants.
Cost to Replace Missing Teeth
Cost is always an important question in the decision-making process. Many factors go into calculating the cost, including your dental insurance. We are happy to set up a consultation with you to better review your specifics and give our recommendations on the options that will work best. We also stress to our patients that you need to consider the cost of the initial work, but you also need to think about the long-term. Any prosthetic is going to wear out over time. Even if you go into dentures, chances are you will need multiple sets over the course of your life. Some of the options that are more expensive on the front end can prove to be more cost-effective in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
We know patients often have a lot of questions when it comes to options for replacing missing teeth. Here are some of the most common ones we hear. We are also happy to schedule a consultation to review your specific case.
Do missing teeth need to be replaced?
We get this question a lot, particularly when it comes to missing back teeth replacement. Technically, no, you do not have to replace a missing tooth. However, teeth serve vital functions, from biting and chewing to maintaining healthy amounts of bone. Also, neighboring teeth are at risk for shifting, which can change your bite over time. Jaw pain and headaches—even migraines—can often be traced back to a misalignment that was triggered by a missing tooth.
How much does it cost to replace a missing tooth?
Costs vary based on the procedure, your insurance coverage, and whether you need additional work (like extractions on other teeth). We welcome you to call our office and schedule a consultation so we can better review your options and the costs for each.
How do dentists replace missing teeth?
We have several options, from artificial teeth mounted on retainers to full dentures or dental implants. We can help you narrow your options down based on our recommendations and your goals.
What is the best option for replacing missing teeth?
Individual ideas of “best” can vary. In terms of overall strength and longevity, dental implants are likely your best option. However, if neighboring teeth are in need of crowns anyway, a bridge might be your best option. If you are missing multiple teeth, your best options may vary, too. Dr. Dennis can help you decide what’s best for you.
What are my options for tooth replacement immediately after an extraction?
Tooth replacement options after extractions are largely the same as if you have had a missing tooth for years. Depending on your circumstances, we can often place an implant at the same time a tooth is extracted, which reduces your overall healing time. If you are having extractions in preparation for a denture, we can often provide an immediate appliance so you do not have to go without teeth while your final prosthetic is being created. Likewise, we may recommend a flipper as a temporary placeholder immediately following an extraction while you heal.
If you have any additional questions about your options for replacing missing teeth, feel free to contact our Atlanta dental office at 404-254-5196. We will be happy to help you regain your confidence and improve your overall oral health.
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