With many state-of-the-art dental treatments and prevention options available in dentistry today, there are fewer reasons for having to extract (remove) teeth. When something does go wrong with a tooth, we try to do everything possible to restore the tooth to its original function. Removing a tooth is the last option because we know that removal may lead to severe and costly dental and cosmetic problems if the tooth is not replaced. However if the cost of fixing the tooth is too much, the tooth is too far gone to be restored, or the tooth is causing too much pain, extracting the tooth may be the only viable solution.
Losing a tooth can be a very traumatic experience and it’s very unfortunate when it does happen. Injury, accident, fracture, severe dental decay, and bone loss are the major reasons for having to remove a tooth. If teeth are lost or have to be removed, it is often a good idea that they be replaced to avoid cosmetic and dental problems in the future.
When a tooth is lost, the jaw bone that helped support that tooth begins to atrophy, which can cause the teeth on either side to shift or tip into the open space of the lost tooth. Also, the tooth above or below the open space can start to move towards the open space because there is no opposing tooth to bite on. These movements may lead to problems problems such as decay, gum disease, excessive wear on certain teeth, and TMJ (jaw joint) problems. These problems and movements do not result immediately, but appear over time, compromising your chewing abilities, the health of your bite, and the beauty of your smile.
Options for replacement of missing teeth:
Interim Partial Denture (Flipper): A flipper is a quick, affordable (starting at $200), but also temporary method for replacing teeth, especially teeth that are visible while smiling and talking. Thanks to our in house lab, in many cases, the flipper can be delivered the same day the impression was made. A flipper can be adjusted, repaired, and have teeth added to it if problems arise in the future. If you need an immediate, temporary fix for a low cost, a flipper may be the best option.
Removable Partial Denture - This type of denture is a good solution for replacing one or more missing teeth, especially in complex dental situations where other replacement options are not possible. They are usually made of tooth-colored, artificial teeth combined with metal clasps and gum-colored acrylic that clip onto adjacent natural teeth. Partials are the most economical option ($950) for permanently replacing missing teeth but might be the least aesthetically pleasing. This is because the metal clasps on the appliances are often difficult to completely conceal. If you're trying to replace multiple teeth on the same arch for a low cost, a partial may be the best option.
Complete Denture - This type of tooth replacement is used when all of the natural teeth are missing in one dental arch. Dentures are removable artificial teeth that are made to closely resemble the patient’s original teeth. All our dentures are made by our in house lab to ensure quality, reduce production time, and decrease the cost. A single denture at our office is $850 (upper and lower dentures would be $1,700). Some dentures can even be made before the remaining teeth are extracted so you never have to go without teeth. This type of denture is called an immediate denture and is $950 for a single plate.
Fixed Bridge - This type of bridge is generally made of porcelain or metal material and is permanently anchored (cemented) to the natural teeth adjacent to the missing tooth site. The benefit of this type of bridge is that it is fixed (not removable), and it is very sturdy. The disadvantages are that it is often the most expensive option to replace a missing tooth ($2100), and in order to create a fixed appliance, two healthy, natural teeth will have to be crowned (capped) to hold the bridge in place. However, if those natural teeth have cavities or fractures, a bridge can replace the missing tooth while also fixing the problems with the natural teeth.
Implant - An implant is the "gold-standard" way to replace one or more missing teeth. A single implant, with the abutment (attachment) and the crown, is $1,700. A dental implant is an artificial root that is surgically placed into the jaw bone to replace a missing tooth. An artificial tooth is placed on the implant, giving the appearance and feel of a natural tooth. Implants are very stable, durable, and are often the most aesthetically pleasing tooth replacement option.
They can also provide great support for ill-fitting dentures. A single implant and abutment used to hold in a denture is $1,000, but often two or more implants are needed to hold the denture properly without the denture rotating. So in the case of two implants and two abutments used to hold a denture, the cost would be $2,000.
If you are missing teeth, ask us if they need replacement and what options are available to you. Together we will select the best replacement option for your particular case. Prevention and early treatment are always less involved and less costly than delaying treatment and allowing a serious problem to develop.