Single Tooth Denture

Can I Get a Partial Denture for One Missing Tooth?

If you are only missing one tooth, you have options for filling the gap. For example, you can get a partial denture to replace it. 

Dentures are prosthetic teeth that will replace your missing natural teeth. Some people get dentures for many missing teeth, while others get dentures for just one to a few missing teeth.

There are various types of dentures, many of which are long-term options. Understanding your options can help you know what’s best for you. After all, some dentures are removable, while others are permanent.

Your general dentist or prosthodontist can talk to you about the best dentures for your oral health needs. But, for starters, here are three different types of dentures you should know about:

  1. Full dentures — Full dentures, also known as complete dentures, work best if you are missing all of your natural teeth or if you have had to get many of your natural teeth surgically removed. These are not your best bet if you are just missing one tooth.
  2. Partial dentures — Partial dentures replace some broken or missing teeth. They are made of false teeth and an acrylic, gum-colored base or metal framework. Partial dentures are removable.4 And they may be a good option if you are just missing one to a few teeth. (A single tooth partial denture is called a flipper).
  3. Overdentures —  Overdentures, also known as implant-supported dentures or dental implants, sit atop your gums.5 Dental implants hold them in place so they don’t move. These are screwed into your jawbone. You may get a dental implant for one missing tooth.

If you’ve had dental surgery, your dentist may also give you immediate dentures for missing teeth as a temporary solution until your gums heal.

What are Single Tooth Dentures?

Single tooth dentures are dentures that are made to replace just one missing tooth. Dentists will typically use partial dentures or overdentures to replace a single tooth. Again, full dentures are not necessary in this case.

Sometimes people will get temporary single tooth dentures called flippers. They are not as durable and stable as a permanent single tooth denture, but can help replace a tooth until a lab-based one is ready. 

Types of Single Tooth Dentures

There are generally two types of single tooth dentures: partial dentures and overdentures (or dental implants).

A removable partial denture may be the best option for some patients. Meanwhile, a dental implant may be the most ideal tooth replacement option for others.

Partial removable immediate-denture

Both options are great solutions. Depending on your needs and oral health, one might be better than the other.7 

If you prefer a removable option, partial dentures may be for you. However, if your adjacent teeth aren’t healthy enough to support the partial denture, you may need to go with an implant.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Single Tooth Dentures

As with anything, there are pros and cons to single tooth dentures to replace tooth loss. It’s important to talk with your dentist about the best option for you, as well as to regularly go for checkups.  

Pros of Single Tooth Dentures

The advantages to single tooth dentures are aplenty. Here are a few reasons why you may want to invest in single tooth dentures:

  • Partial dentures are more cost-effective than full dentures. This is because they only need to replace one or a few teeth instead of the full mouth.
  • Because partial dentures can be removable, dental care can be easier for some people. On the other hand, because implants are permanent, they can also be easier to maintain for some people.
  • Dental implants are a permanent solution for fixing a single missing tooth.
  • When you get partial dentures or a dental implant, you don’t necessarily need to touch your other existing teeth. As single-tooth replacement treatment options, these will complete your smile and blend in with your remaining teeth.

Cons of Single Tooth Dentures

The disadvantages to single tooth dentures include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Dentures of any kind are not necessarily cheap.3 They can cost upwards of thousands of dollars without dental insurance. It’s wise to find out whether or not your dental care provider will cover at least some of the cost of your dentures.
  • Dentures need upkeep. You need to maintain a regular dental health routine and clean your dentures like you would clean your natural surrounding teeth. Brush and floss to keep healthy teeth, fight gum disease, and maintain long-lasting dentures.1

Single-Tooth Implant vs. Single Tooth Denture

While they both fix the same problem, a single tooth implant and a single tooth denture are not the same. An implant, for example, is a permanent solution that is screwed into your jawbone.

The dentist will use a titanium post that acts as an artificial tooth root.2 They surgically implant it into the jawbone, just below the gums. Then, the bone grows over it and, ultimately, stabilizes it in place. From there, the dentist will attach a prosthetic, called an abutment.

A few months down the line, a porcelain crown (which is the replacement tooth) will be screwed or cemented onto the abutment.

jaw with teeth and dental molar implant

Partial dentures are a little different because they hook onto remaining healthy teeth.2 They have a base that keeps the fake tooth in place and that blends in with your gums. But the back has wings that attach to the adjacent teeth to stay in place.

How Much Does a Single Tooth Denture Cost?

Without insurance, a full set of dentures can cost upwards of $4,000. While a single tooth denture will only be a fraction of that, other costs add up. For example, additional fees may include examinations (about $100), X-rays (about $150), and tooth removals (about $75 to $200).

The type of single tooth denture you choose also affects the cost. Dental implants tend to be more expensive than partial dentures. This is because they involve surgery and a lot more work. They are also permanent solutions, whereas partial dentures may be removable.

Talk to your dentist about the cost of your options and weigh what is best for your health and your wallet.

Does Insurance Cover Dentures?

Yes, some dental insurance plans do cover dentures.2 It is important to reach out to your provider to see if your plan will cover your single tooth denture. Insurance can help to shave off some or all of the cost, making dentures much more affordable.

At the end of the day, dentures may be a good idea, whatever the cost. If you can afford them, with or without insurance, dentures can help complete your smile and bring back your confidence.

Resources

(1) “Denture Care.Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Nov. 2017

(2) “Does Dental Insurance Cover Dentures?Guardian Direct

(3) “How Much Do Dentures Really Cost Without Insurance?Cigna Discount Dental Plans, 29 Jan. 2019

(4) I;, Nakazawa. “A Clinical Survey of Removable Partial Dentures. --Analysis of Follow-up Examinations over a Sixteen-Year Period--.The Bulletin of Tokyo Medical and Dental University, U.S. National Library of Medicine.

(5) P;, Rousseau. “Flapless and Traditional Dental Implant Surgery: an Open, Retrospective Comparative Study.Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery : Official Journal of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, U.S. National Library of Medicine

(6) Publishing, Harvard Health. “Big Advances for Dental Implants.Harvard Health

(7) Publishing, Harvard Health. “Two Options for Replacing Lost Teeth.Harvard Health.

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