If you have missing, damaged, or unhealthy teeth, you may also be missing the confidence that comes with a full, healthy smile. You likely struggle with eating a normal diet and may even struggle with normal speech. If these are problems you are looking to address, teeth replacement might be the solution.
When Is It Time to Replace Missing or Damaged Teeth?
If your damaged teeth (or the lack of teeth) are impacting your ability to live a normal, healthy life, it’s time to resolve the issue. Common signs that indicate it’s time to consider replacing teeth include:
- Having missing, damaged, or loose teeth
- Struggling to speak clearly or difficulty being easily understood by others
- Chronic health issues caused by rotting or unhealthy teeth
- Unable to eat a consistent, nutrient-dense diet due to problems with your teeth
- Chronic oral pain or discomfort (likely due to infection)
- Loose dentures
While these aren’t the only reasons to replace missing or damaged teeth, they are the most common (and often the most impactful).
What is Teeth Replacement?
Teeth replacement refers to several options that are designed to replace your damaged or missing teeth and restore normal function to your mouth. Options range from repairing damaged teeth (like crowns), looking for a quick fix (like traditional dentures), or investing in a long-term, permanent solution (like dental implants).
Can you replace your permanent teeth?
Yes! People’s permanent teeth can get damaged for various reasons (e.g., injury, poor dental health, use of certain medication) and permanent teeth can be replaced with permanent options, like dental implants. Our oral surgeons will usually recommend dental implants over other teeth replacement options, since dental implants (like single implants or 4-on-1 full arch dental implants), mimic the natural look and function of your original teeth.
Teeth Replacement Options
There are several options for teeth replacement, and it’s good to be aware of your options so you can make an informed decision, along with the guidance of your oral surgeon.
Dental implants are the best solutions when you need to replace your teeth. They are the only permanent, fixed solution to replacing damaged or missing teeth. Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, or an entire row of teeth – like the 4-on-1 full arch procedure. In the 4-on-1 full arch procedure, four dental implants are needed to support an entire row of new teeth. The implant screws are made of titanium, while the visible tooth is made of zirconia, which is durable, long-lasting, and has a great esthetic. Dental implants are the best options for teeth replacement.
Traditional dentures are prosthetic teeth that connect to your gum line through adhesives. The fake teeth are made from acrylic, which is a soft and porous material that is prone to breakage and damage. Traditional dentures need to be taken out every night for cleaning and need to be replaced around every five years.
Traditional dentures will also have issues with odors, and patients will face dietary restrictions.
Partial dentures are like traditional dentures, except they are made to replace only one (or a few) teeth. These are often used when the rest of the natural teeth are healthy and stable, and the patient is looking for a non-permanent, low-cost option. Like traditional dentures, partial dentures need to be cleaned nightly and replaced around every five years.
As with traditional dentures, partial dentures will also come with dietary restrictions and will have issues with odors caused by bacteria.
Crowns and Bridges
Crowns are caps that are placed onto damaged or failing teeth. A natural tooth is drilled down into a cone shape, and the crown is then cemented on top of it. A bridge is used to replace a missing tooth (or multiple teeth). The teeth on either side of the empty space need to be healthy and will have crowns placed on them, which the bridge is cemented to. The result is the empty space being filled by a new, fake tooth/teeth, which is held in place by the natural teeth on either side.
Pros and Cons of Each Replacement Option
Not all teeth replacement options are created equal. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each of the options we discussed:
Dental implants are permanent and will last a lifetime given proper care. They feel the best and look the best. The zirconia material (which is used to make the white teeth) is durable and difficult to damage, and procedures, like 4-on-1 full arch implants, replace entire rows of teeth with only four screws. Patients who receive full-mouth replacements of dental implants can eat a normal diet of foods and have problems with normal speech.
Cost is often named as the biggest cost to dental implants. Single implants range from $3,000-$6,000 per tooth, while 4-on-1 full arch procedures have a national average price of $25,000 – $40,000 per arch. However, by using 4-on-1 full arch dental implants, our patients can receive an entire row of new teeth for $14,950. Our offices offer a Lowest Price Guarantee, should you find another office offering a lower advertised price.
Traditional dentures are common solutions for teeth replacement, but they offer few advantages and many drawbacks.
Traditional dentures may be low cost upfront, but they still need to be replaced around every five years. Compared to other options, traditional dentures offer no significant advantages.
There are many cons that come with traditional dentures. Since they attach with an adhesive, you won’t have a secure bite. Traditional dentures can impact your ability to speak clearly, and the soft acrylic in the fake teeth mean that you will have significant dietary restrictions. Acrylic is also porous, so it’s easy for bacteria to grow and cause foul odors.
Traditional dentures are a hassle to clean. They have to be taken out and soaked every night and may require additional cleaning to help keep odor-causing bacteria at bay.
Partial dentures have similar pros and cons to traditional dentures.
Partial dentures can be a low-cost way to fill in a space where a tooth is missing, especially if only a few teeth need to be replaced.
Like traditional dentures, partial dentures come with dietary restrictions, where the severity of the restrictions may depend on where they are placed. They will also need to be replaced around every five years, and they are also made of acrylic, which makes partial dentures prone to allowing bacteria to grow that cause bad smells. They can also become loose and rub against the gums and cause sores.
Crowns and Bridges
Finally, let’s take a look at crowns and bridges.
Crowns are a good option to help protect damaged teeth that are otherwise healthy. Bridges are a cost-effective option to replace missing teeth, especially if surrounding teeth are healthy and can support the bridge.
Crowns and bridges will also need to be replaced (they can last as short as 5-10 years). Crowns are only an option for teeth that are damaged (not missing), and bridges require surrounding teeth to be healthy enough to support the needed bridge. They won’t be an option for patients with multiple missing or damaged teeth.
Longevity / How Long Will the New Teeth Last?
A major factor patients should consider is how long these teeth replacement options will last.
Dental implants have the best longevity and are meant to last a lifetime, as long as they were placed by an experienced oral surgeon and basic hygiene practices are followed.
Traditional dentures will only last around 5 years before they need to be replaced.
As with traditional dentures, partial dentures will only last about five years and will need to be replaced after.
Crowns and Bridges
Crowns and bridges that are placed on top of your existing teeth (that have been filed down) can last as short as 5-10 years, and this is largely dependent on how well you take care of them, and how healthy your other teeth are. Crowns and bridges that are placed on top of dental implants on the other hand can last a lifetime.
Which Teeth Replacement Option Is Best for You?
You should consult with an oral surgeon to determine which option is right for you. However, we have found that the vast majority of our patients get the most benefits from dental implants and the 4 on 1 full arch full arch procedure, especially if they need full rows of teeth replaced.