Teeth can fall out for any number of reasons including damage, decay, gum disease, or trauma. With the exception of your third molars, also known as wisdom teeth, every tooth in your mouth is necessary for proper function. Therefore, when a tooth is lost, your dentist will recommend that you replace the missing tooth as soon as possible.
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, many people are hesitant because of the cost. However, what some people may not realize is that there are a variety of options for replacing missing teeth. These options can offer different treatment methods and can fit different budgets.
Ultimately, the cost of replacing a missing tooth will depend upon the restoration method, as well as the dental materials used. Let’s take a look at some common restoration treatments for missing teeth to give you a better idea about cost.
A dental bridge uses a dental crown mounted on the teeth surrounding the gap to support a fake tooth, or pontic. Sometimes, more than one pontic may be used if multiple adjacent teeth are missing. The cost of a dental bridge will increase if more than one pontic is required. Additionally, the cost of a dental bridge is also dependent upon the materials used to fabricate the crowns and pontics or if the dental bridge needs to be replaced. Certain dental materials cost more than others, however they also have other pros and cons that must be considered.
Dentures are generally used to replace multiple missing teeth. Partial dentures are used in cases where there are still intact teeth, while full dentures are used when there are no remaining teeth. Partial dentures are usually more affordable than full dentures, however there must be enough teeth to support them. The dental materials used to fabricate dentures will also play a role here as well. With dentures, the fake teeth will need to be fabricated, as well as the framework. Although it can vary, generally speaking metal framework tends to be more affordable than an acrylic framework that looks like real gum tissue. Once again, you will need to consider the pros and cons of each dental material available to you. For more information, see our article on “What are Dentures Made Of?”
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are implanted into the jaw bone and used to support a dental prosthesis. To replace a single missing tooth, an implant-supported crown is used. To replace multiple missing teeth either an implant-supported bridge or implant-supported denture is used, depending on how many teeth are missing. With dental implants, there is the cost of the implant as well as the prosthetic that is attached to it.
In addition to the type of method used to replace missing teeth, another thing you need to consider is how long the treatment is expected to last, as well as the cost of potential maintenance. Some methods may have a lower upfront cost, but you’ll end up paying more in maintenance, while others have a higher upfront cost, but only require little to no maintenance. These are things you should discuss with your dentist prior to making a decision.
As you can see, the cost of replacing missing teeth is somewhat ambiguous and varies depending on a number of factors. You will need to consider your treatment method, the dental materials used, and its lifespan to determine the actual cost. Although there are several sites that offer estimates, they are just that: estimates. To find out for sure how much it costs to replace missing teeth, schedule a consultation with your local dental office. Most dental offices will offer free or discounted consultations that allow you to learn more about your options.
Dr. Anthony Mancino is Monmouth and Ocean County New Jersey’s General and Cosmetic Dentist and has been practicing for over 25 years focusing on cosmetic and overall dental health. Dr. Mancino is a graduate of Villanova University and University of Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the American Dental Association, New Jersey Dental Association, Monmouth & Ocean County Dental Association, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the Academy of General Dentistry.