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Updated on July 13, 2022

Tooth Replacement Options

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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

3d model of full set of teeth on dental chair

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.

jaw with teeth and dental molar implant

Types

There are three main types of dental implants:

Endosteal 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.

Subperiosteal Implants

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.   

Zygomatic Implants

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.

Pros

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 

Cons

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

Costs                

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

jaw and implants with dental bridge

Types

There are four types of dental bridges in common use today:

Traditional Bridges

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. 

Cantilever Bridges 

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. 

Maryland Bridges

These porcelain crowns have a metal framework that bonds to adjacent teeth, so you don’t need to prepare the adjacent teeth for crowns. 

Implant-Supported Bridges

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. 

Pros

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 

Cons

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

Costs

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

removable full denture lower jaw

Types

Two types of dentures are available:

Complete Dentures

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.

Partial Dentures

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. 

Pros

Dentures are a great option thanks to the following advantages:

  • Cost-effective 
  • Aesthetically pleasing 
  • Easy to maintain 
  • Don’t require healthy teeth

Cons

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

Costs

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

removable full implant denture

Types

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.

Pros                                                

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
  • Long-lasting
  • Prevent adjacent teeth from shifting and misaligning

Cons

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

Costs

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.

Partial removable immediate-denture

Types

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.

Pros

Interim partial dentures improve appearance and boost confidence. Other benefits include:

  • Low cost
  • Easier to speak
  • Stabilize neighboring teeth and bite
  • Convenient
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to make

Another considerable advantage is that a dentist can prepare an interim denture before removing teeth.

Cons

Although interim dentures are good for some applications, there are also drawbacks:

  • Less durable, break easily, not long-lasting
  • May feel loose 

Costs

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.

6 Sources Cited
Last updated on July 13, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Missing teeth.” American College of Prosthodontists
  2. What are dental implants?” The American Academy of Implant Dentistry
  3. Tabanella, G., et al. “Clinical and microbiological determinants of ailing dental implants.” Clinical Implant Dentistry and Related Research, 2009
  4. Simonis, P., et al. “Long-term implant survival and success: a 10–16-year follow-up of non-submerged dental implants.” Clinical Oral Implants Research, 2010
  5. Dental bridges.” The Cleveland Clinic, 2020
  6. Dentures.” The Cleveland Clinic, 2020
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