28 Jan What is the Cheapest Way to Replace Missing Teeth?
No matter how confident a person is in their work, relationships, or creative pursuits, missing teeth can chip away at that confidence, inhibiting their smile and laughter. But did you know that missing teeth can also result in jawbone deterioration, a shifting of the remaining teeth, bite irregularities, difficulty chewing and speaking, and even a change in facial structure? If you’re missing teeth, it’s important to replace them as soon as possible in order to restore your confidence and avoid unwanted consequences. Fortunately, dental technology has come a long way in recent decades, and there are a number of different tooth-replacement options to suit every budget.
What is the cheapest way to replace missing teeth?
When weighing the cost of different tooth-replacement options, it’s important to consider both the long- and short-term. While some options for missing teeth cost less upfront, they sometimes end up costing more in the long run, either because they need to be replaced more frequently or because their long-term use could result in the need for further procedures. Below, we’ve listed 7 tooth-replacement options and their overall cost-effectiveness, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
- Dental implant
A dental implant is a prosthetic tooth that replaces the full root and crown of a missing tooth. It consists of three parts: a titanium screw (which is surgically inserted into the jaw), an abutment attached to the screw, and crown attached to the abutment. A dental implant looks, feels, and functions like a natural tooth. Although it does require a larger upfront investment than other options, it is both durable and permanent, making it more cost effective in the long-term.
Disadvantage: Involves a surgical procedure.
Advantage: Lifetime expectancy. Prevents jawbone deterioration.
- All-on-4 implant-supported dentures
All-on-4 implant–supported dentures are used to replace a full arch of missing teeth. Rather than replacing each tooth with a single implant, however, All-on-4 involves four titanium screws inserted into the jaw, and four abutments, onto which a full arch of prosthetic teeth is attached. It is stable and durable. This option is more costly than standard dentures, but it also has a life expectancy of about 20 years.
Disadvantage: More costly than standard dentures.
Advantage: No slippage. More comfortable than standard dentures.
- Implant-supported fixed bridge
When two or more adjacent teeth need to be replaced, an implant-supported fixed bridge can restore the smile without need for an implant beneath every prosthetic tooth. This option involves dental implants on either side of the gap. The implants serve as anchors to a set of prosthetic teeth that bridge the gap. An implant-supported fixed bridge is less costly than replacing every tooth with an implant and more sturdy than a partial denture.
Disadvantage: Surgical procedure involves a longer treatment timeline than a partial denture..
Advantage: Lower cost than a single-tooth implant for several missing teeth.
- Tooth-supported fixed bridge
A tooth-supported fixed bridge differs from an implant-supported bridge in that the natural teeth, not implants, support the bridge. The teeth adjacent to the gap are modified to fit crowns. The replacement tooth or teeth (“pontics”) form the bridge between the two crowns, which are cemented into place over modified teeth.
Disadvantage: Adjacent teeth must be filed down to fit crowns.
Advantages: Less expensive than implants. More sturdy than dentures.
- Resin-bonded bridge
A resin-bonded bridge is similar to the tooth-supported bridge in that the replacement tooth is supported by two natural adjacent teeth, but rather than using crowns, it uses two small resin wings adhered to the back side of the pontic. Those wings are then adhered to the back side of the adjacent teeth to hold the pontic in place. The resin-bonded bridge is less expensive than a fixed bridge, though certain foods can cause it to detach from the teeth, making replacement necessary.
Disadvantage: Fragile. Does not support jawbone health.
Advantage: Requires no filing down of natural teeth.
- Removable partial denture
A removable partial denture is a replacement tooth or teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base, often with a metal framework that clasps to the natural teeth for support. This is one of the least expensive tooth replacement options available.
Disadvantage: May feel bulky. Does not prevent jawbone deterioration.
Advantage: No surgery required. Can be used to replace two or more teeth that are not adjacent to one another.
- Removable complete dentures
Removable complete dentures are dental appliances consisting of prosthetic teeth attached to an acrylic base. They are used to restore several consecutive missing teeth. Upfront, dentures are a less expensive tooth-replacement option than implants when replacing a full arch of missing teeth. But because dentures do not prevent the jawbone from deteriorating, they may need to be refitted and replaced every five years or so. Dentures are sometimes the best option for those who do not have sufficient jawbone density to support implants.
Disadvantage: Does not support jawbone health. Can involve slippage and discomfort when talking or speaking
Advantage: Does not require surgery. Easily removed for cleaning.
The best way to determine which tooth-replacement option is best for you is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hage.
Missing teeth? Call University Dental San Diego for an appointment today!
At University Dental in San Diego, we’re committed to providing every patient with excellent service, a comfortable experience, and a radiant smile that feels great to show off. For more information on the tooth-replacement options we offer, or to schedule a consultation, give us a call at (619) 582-4224 ttoday.