5 Common Tooth Replacement Options
If you’ve lost one or more teeth, you’re not alone. Experts estimate that 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and 40 million people are missing all of their teeth.1
Thankfully, various tooth replacement options can help restore your smile. You may opt for tooth replacement for reasons such as:
- Improving self-confidence
- Ability to speak and eat normally
- Shifting teeth and bite misalignment
- Reducing stress on other teeth
- Preventing damaged teeth
- Correcting jaw pain or a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
- Maintaining bone health
Below are five of the best tooth replacement options:
1. Dental Implants
Over 3 million Americans have dental implants, meaning it’s a popular tooth replacement solution.2 A dentist can use them to replace a single tooth or as an implant-supported bridge for multiple teeth.
There are three main types of dental implants:
These common dental implants are typically made from titanium and resemble small screws. The fitting process involves inserting the implant into the jawbone.
Eventually, it fuses with the natural bone. Once integrated into the bone, a second procedure attaches an artificial tooth (crown) to the implant.
These uncommon implants may be an option for people who can’t have bone grafts or have a thin jawbone. The metal framework sits on top of the jawbone, and eventually fuses to the bone. A dentist can then attach prosthetics to the frame.
These implants fit into the cheekbone and can replace teeth in the upper jaw. They’re an option for people with bone loss who can’t support traditional dental implants.
Dental implants have many benefits, including:
- Behave like natural teeth, so you can chew all types of food
- Can last a lifetime with proper care
- Don’t require reducing other teeth, as is the case with dental bridges
- Don’t slip out or make a clicking noise like dentures
- Can help prevent bone loss
- Can improve speech
- Can keep neighboring teeth stable
- Can prevent facial sagging
Dental implants are expensive, and there can be complications. Some research estimates that about 5 to 10% of dental implants fail, either shortly after fitting or months or years later.3
They also require several dental appointments and implant surgery, which carries the risk of infection and other issues.4
The cost of a single tooth implant can be up to $4,000. If you need to restore multiple teeth, the procedure might cost $15,000 to $20,000 per arch.
2. Dental Bridges
A dental bridge is a custom-made, permanent restoration that can replace one or more missing teeth.5
There are four types of dental bridges in common use today:
These bridges are the most popular and are made of ceramic, porcelain fused to metal, zirconia, or gold. They have an artificial tooth, called a pontic, held in place by dental crowns on both adjacent teeth. Dentists typically use them for premolars and molars.
These resemble traditional bridges but are only cemented to a crown on one side. They’re usually made of porcelain fused to metal. Dentists use them to restore front teeth as they aren’t strong enough to support the chewing force of molars.
These porcelain crowns have a metal framework that bonds to adjacent teeth, so you don’t need to prepare the adjacent teeth for crowns.
This is when a natural tooth and an implant are used to replace a missing tooth. Dentists often use them to restore premolars and molars.
Here are some advantages of dental bridges:
- Lower cost compared to implants
- No bone grafting is necessary
- Quicker process than implants
- More secure than dentures
There are also some disadvantages to bridges, including:
- Traditional bridges require filing down adjacent healthy teeth
- Maryland bridges can damage existing neighboring teeth and are not resilient to chewing forces
- Implant-supported bridges take longer and cost more
- They don’t last as long as implants
The cost of a dental bridge depends on the type. You can expect to pay $1,500 or more for a Maryland bridge and $15,000 for an implant-supported bridge.
3. Removable Dentures
A dentist can replace one or several missing teeth with removable dentures.
Two types of dentures are available:
These dentures are suitable for people with no remaining teeth. Conventional complete dentures are placed in the mouth around two months after all the teeth have been removed and the gums are healing.
In comparison, immediate dentures can be fitted immediately after tooth removal, so the wearer has teeth during the healing period.
Immediate dentures are a temporary solution. This is because bones and gums shrink in the weeks following tooth removal, so they will no longer fit comfortably.
These are an option when someone has natural teeth remaining. They consist of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base. They may be connected to a metal framework in the mouth to hold them in place.
Dentures are a great option thanks to the following advantages:
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Easy to maintain
- Don’t require healthy teeth
However, dentures are not without some drawbacks:
- May feel uncomfortable
- Can become loose
- May make a clicking noise
- Can cause irritation
- Multiple procedures involved
- Require regular replacement
You’ll pay around $1,300 to $3,000 for one set of upper or lower dentures.
4. Fixed Dentures
Fixed or permanent dentures consist of a row of prosthetic porcelain or plastic teeth on a plastic base. The base then attaches to dental implants in the jaw.6
Complete fixed dentures are an option if you’re missing a full arch of teeth. If you’re only missing a few teeth, you might consider fixed partial dentures. These are either a fixed bridge or an implant-supported fixed bridge.
Fixed dentures allow you to eat without difficulty and maintain the appearance of your face.
There are other advantages, including:
- Won’t fall out
- Stable in the mouth
- Improve smile
- Help normal speech
- Behave like real teeth
- Prevent adjacent teeth from shifting and misaligning
There are also some disadvantages to fixed dentures, including:
- Require surgery
- Increase the risk of infection and inflammation
- More difficult to clean than removable dentures
- Cost more than removable dentures
Fixed dentures cost around $8,000 per arch because of the surgery and time required.
5. Interim Partial Dentures (Temporary)
Temporary dentures consist of a removable denture that fits against the palate or sits on the lower jaw. They have one or multiple prosthetic teeth attached.
Temporary partial dentures are made using basically the same technique as a permanent partial denture. However, they are made ahead of the tooth extraction, so you won’t know how the interim partial denture will look in your mouth.
Because these removable partial dentures are custom-made to fit your mouth, they come in various shapes and sizes and are usually made of acrylic.
Depending on the number of missing teeth, an interim partial denture may resemble a partial denture with clasps that hold it in place around existing teeth.
Interim partial dentures improve appearance and boost confidence. Other benefits include:
- Low cost
- Easier to speak
- Stabilize neighboring teeth and bite
- Easy to make
Another considerable advantage is that a dentist can prepare an interim denture before removing teeth.
Although interim dentures are good for some applications, there are also drawbacks:
- Less durable, break easily, not long-lasting
- May feel loose
Temporary partial dentures are among the cheapest options for tooth replacement, and you’ll typically pay $400 to $500.
Which Option is Right for You?
There are many different tooth replacement options available. The best option for you depends on numerous factors, including the number of missing teeth, your budget, preferences, and overall oral health.
The five most common choices are dental implants, bridges, dentures, fixed dentures, and interim partial dentures. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
If you’re missing teeth and considering replacements, consult your dentist for an evaluation and to discuss the most appropriate option.
In this article
How many implants do you need for 5 teeth? ›
Your dentist can place one implant at each end of the gap. The implants will support crowns, and the crowns will support 1 – 3 pontics between them. Thus, in total, two dental implants can replace up to five teeth.What is the best option for replacing teeth? ›
Dental implants are the preferred method of replacing missing teeth. A metal post is put in place of the root, and an artificial tooth that looks and feels natural replaces the missing tooth. The process takes some time because the implant will fuse to the jawbone.What are my options if I have really bad teeth? ›
Dentures and dental bridges are both options for replacing missing teeth – and they can both be secured using dental implants, too. Dentures are used to replace all the teeth in your mouth, either top, bottom, or both. A dental bridge is used to replace a few teeth that are missing consecutively.What is the best option for multiple missing teeth? ›
This is one of the most common and preferred methods of replacing multiple missing teeth. Implants are not only long-lasting but also feel and look nearly identical to natural teeth. Dental implants replace a missing tooth root with a titanium screw that is inserted into the jawbone.
There is no limit to the number of teeth you can have extracted at once. While having multiple teeth extracted during the same procedure is rare, it is sometimes the only option for patients with severe tooth decay.How rare is having 5 extra teeth? ›
In the literature, the frequency of supernumerary teeth in the general population is reported to be between 0.1 and 3.8%. [5,12,16,17,18] In our study, it was observed that 156 patients were affected among 7348 non-syndromic patients and the frequency was 2.14%.What is the most affordable way to replace missing teeth? ›
The most affordable tooth replacement solution is dentures. This is because they take the least amount of time to create. There is no surgery and no dental crowns to place. Instead, an impression is taken of the mouth along with measurements.What is the longest lasting tooth replacement? ›
A dental implant can replace a single tooth or act as an anchor for a bridge or dentures. There are many benefits of dental implants, including their longevity. Implants are the longest lasting tooth replacement option available.Whats the cheapest option for new teeth? ›
Dentures tend to be the cheapest way to replace missing teeth which makes them the favoured option for many people.Can even the worst teeth be fixed? ›
Dentistry has advanced incredibly over recent years, which means that there is a treatment for every kind of oral health concern. Therefore, if you've bad teeth, there are effective restorative options available to repair them.
Can badly damaged teeth be fixed? ›
Damaged teeth that are still firmly in place in the gums with a sufficient portion of healthy and strong tooth material can be repaired using a wide variety of techniques. Replacing a chipped portion of tooth or filling in a crack in the tooth can often be done using a strong dental bonding material.Can teeth be too bad to fix? ›
Most Teeth Can Be Corrected
While sometimes their tooth decay was advanced enough to be a serious problem, a simple cavity can be surprisingly painful. So, it is important not to wait until you can't stand the pain and discomfort and have treated sooner rather than later.
Whether it is the upper or the lower jaw, two dental implants canreplace up to five or six missing teeth. By definition, a "bridge" connects two supports (abutments).How many implants do you need for 4 teeth? ›
Usually, you'll need a minimum of four implant posts for a full upper denture. The lower jawbone is much denser, so fewer implants can provide more stability. In some cases, two implants may be all that is needed.How many teeth can 1 implant hold? ›
An implant is rarely used to replace multiple teeth on its own, but it can be combined with another to replace up to six teeth. That means an implant on its own can support a max of three artificial teeth.How many implants does it take to replace 4 teeth? ›
Replacing four or more teeth
If you have four consecutive missing teeth, we only need to place two implants which can then suspend two false bridge teeth between them.