How To Choose The Right Tooth Replacement Option

12 January 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Articles


If you are missing one or more teeth, you have probably considered tooth replacement options. While dentures are the most well-known method for replacing missing teeth, there are several different types of artificial teeth that you can choose from. Here is an explanation of the four most common methods of replacing teeth and the best application for each of them.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are the latest advancement in tooth replacement technology. Implants are held in place by titanium screws in the jaw bone with abutments that stick up from the gums to hold an artificial crown. The crowns are typically made from porcelain or ceramic, and they perfectly mimic the look of a white, healthy tooth.

Dental implants are the best choice if you are only missing a single tooth, or multiple teeth that are spread out in the mouth (non-adjacent). While individual implants could hypothetically be used to replace a mouthful of missing teeth, they can be quite expensive at $4,000 to $5,000 per tooth. For this reason, they are best for creating a strong, permanent replacement for just a few missing teeth.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are similar to dental implants in that they are fixed in place once they are installed. Rather than being screwed into the jawbone, however, bridges are bonded to the healthy teeth on either side of the location of your missing teeth. Crowns made of porcelain or ceramic are suspended by the bridge between your healthy teeth to replace the tooth that is missing.

Because multiple crowns can be suspended from a single bridge, dental bridges are an excellent option for replacing two, three, or more missing teeth that are next to each other. Like implants, the crowns in a dental bridge are very lifelike and will be difficult to tell apart from natural teeth. Additionally, they can replace teeth in locations where bone loss in the jawbone beneath them caused them to fall out, a condition where regular implants would have nothing to attach to.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are made up of three components: replacement teeth, a plastic base that matches your gums, and a metal clip that connects to your other teeth to hold the denture in place. Typically the clip will run across the inside of your front teeth and connect to a molar on the other side of your mouth.

Like bridges, partial dentures are meant to replace multiple teeth that used to be next to each other. Instead of bonding to the teeth on either side of the gap, the plastic base of the dentures rests over the gums where your teeth used to be. While partial dentures are not as lifelike as bridges or implants, they have two primary advantages over them: affordability and convenience. Partials can be removed when you are eating or sleeping for your comfort, and they can be found for less than half the cost of bridges or implants.

Overdentures or Complete Dentures

Overdenture and complete dentures are the traditional methods for replacing missing teeth. They are typically the best option when you are missing all or most of your teeth. Overdentures are used when you have a small number of teeth remaining, and are custom-fit with grooves or gaps to make room for your remaining teeth. Full dentures can be made for your full set of upper teeth, lower teeth, or both, and are custom-fit to the size, shape, and contour of your mouth and gums.

As these examples show, you are not stuck with traditional dentures if you are missing some or all of your teeth. Talk with your dentist or see a site like about the tooth replacement options that he has available so that you can find the one that is best for your teeth and your budget.