With so many tooth replacement options and recent advancements in dentistry, it can be overwhelming to decide how to replace an extracted tooth or multiple teeth. If you’re tired of constant failed dental work and researching your options after tooth extraction, you’ve come to the right place! We’ll clearly explain common tooth replacement options so you can select the best restorative treatment for your budget and lifestyle.
If this is the first tooth you’ve lost, you’ve just joined the 178 million Americans missing one or more of their 28 natural adult teeth.
When considering restorative options, the first factor to come to mind is typically cost. Dental emergencies are inconvenient and unexpected, and usually there is no “dental fund” tucked away waiting for the next oral crisis.
On one end, there is the fear of irresponsibly selecting an option that is out of budget. On the other end, there is the fear of selecting a quick fix that will cost a lot more in the long run. This article will review the range of prices for restorative treatments and explore the value of each option.
5 Common Tooth Replacement Paths:
If a tooth was extracted from the back of your mouth, you may be wondering if you’re even going to miss it. It is very possible that you can live on without compromising your chewing strength or oral health, but you should visit a dental expert for an evaluation. A dental 3-D CT scan or panoramic X-ray can help predict whether the missing space will change the way your jaw closes when you bite or allow other teeth to shift.
Often times, patients come to us with missing gaps in their teeth that have been neglected. The problem with doing nothing about missing teeth is that inaction can lead to bone resorption, or bone loss, of your jaw. If you lose too much bone, there is a chance that you will not be a candidate for certain restorative options after tooth extraction. The only long-term solution that prevents bone loss is dental implants, but regardless of which option you choose, it’s important to get regular checkups and keep a close watch on your dental health.
What happens if an extracted tooth is not replaced?
When your jaw is closed into a biting position, every tooth should firmly press against another tooth. A tooth left without a connection on the opposing jaw will ultimately shift up, down, or forward into an open space. Even if all of the teeth still connect post-extraction, there is still the possibility that this will happen if a space is not restored. In extreme cases, if an extracted tooth is not replaced, your bite may change in a way that strains the jaw joints and causes TMJ disorders.
All risks should be considered and discussed as any missing tooth gap left untreated for too long will result in loss of bone mass in that area of the jaw, making it much more difficult to restore the tooth at a later time.
For a single missing tooth, a dental flipper can be created to hold a false tooth in place for cosmetic purposes at a low cost of $350-$500. Flippers are supported by the palate (roof of the mouth), the gums, or the teeth, using acrylic or metal hooks. However, flippers often become loose over time and are not an ideal long-term solution. Another major disadvantage is that a flipper will not prevent bone resorption.
Read More: Dental Flipper vs. Dental Implants
Anchoring a Cemented Bridge
The cost of a cemented bridge ranges from $700-$1,800 per crown or bridge section. A bridge doesn’t require any additional oral surgery, which also makes it one of the fastest solutions for a missing tooth. What dentists often fail to include in their presentation is a discussion of realistic expectations for the long-term success of the treatment.
Cemented bridges are typically made of three fused crowns, with the center crown serving to fill the space where the natural tooth is missing. The crowns on either side must be anchored to the natural teeth adjacent to the space.
Bridges are not advisable for two consecutive spaces, as it creates too great of a distance between anchors. In order to serve as anchor teeth, the natural teeth are filed into small pegs so they may fit into the bottom of the bridge. This process reduces the thickness of enamel and natural protection around the sensitive pulp of the tooth containing the tooth’s nerve.
When plaque creeps under the bridge and reaches areas that can’t be brushed or flossed, decay quickly spreads through the thin enamel of the anchor tooth. Even if decay is avoided, the anchor teeth have to do twice as much work as they were meant to, which risks root fracture and infection.
Complete retainers are also used to hold false teeth in the position of a gap for a similar $300-$700 fee. Much like the Invisalign concept, these clear retainers cover the full arch, which keeps the palate open and applies less pressure than appliances using individual anchor teeth. Though safer than the flippers, the retainers are not as discrete since they cover the front of the teeth. Both types of appliances must be removed for eating and alterations to speech can be a problem.
An appliance intended to be more long-term is the partial denture, which includes one or more sections of false teeth fabricated into pink plastic designed to resemble the gums. These appliances are delivered to improve cosmetics as well as chewing function.
The cost of a partial denture depends on the quality of materials and experience of the doctor. The most basic, standard-size partial denture can cost as little as $300, and a custom-fit appliance made with premium materials by a board-certified prosthodontist can cost over $6,000. The more you spend, the better your chances are to receive a partial denture you’ll be able to tolerate.
Adhesives often need to be reapplied after every meal which can be frustrating and time consuming. Those who are not able to chew with their partial dentures learn how to chew on their front teeth or mash the food against their gums. Many prefer this way of eating over the discomfort of sharp food particles pinching their gums when the appliance moves and food shifts underneath.
Much like the cemented bridges, the increased dependence on surrounding natural teeth accelerates tooth loss and shortens the lifespan of the treatment. Even though the anchor teeth are not filed into pegs the way the cemented bridge anchors are, the hooks and clasps rub against the enamel and can cause teeth to chip and decay.
Replace the Tooth with a Dental Implant
The only way to replace the complete tooth and avoid causing harm to the surrounding natural teeth is to replace the tooth with a dental implant. The most traditional implants for teeth typically involve three stages.
The first step is the tooth extraction, usually accompanied by the placement of a bone graft to prevent the jaw from shrinking in the area that will be restored. After a few months of healing, the small tooth implant is surgically drilled into the bone beneath the space of the missing tooth. The implant restores the original tooth root and preserves the bone around it, preventing the bone loss and shifting that is so common with all other treatments. The tooth implant is hidden beneath the gums and allowed to heal for several months before the crown is secured, which is the final treatment step.
With this type of traditional implant treatment, typically a removable appliance is used to temporarily cover the space during the healing period. Since the implant and implant-crown do not rely on other teeth and are not susceptible to decay, a dental implant restoration can be safely assumed to last throughout a patient’s lifetime. While many patients are deterred by the additional time and cost involved with this treatment, others find it to hold the most value because it avoids additional time and cost down the road.
The combined cost of a tooth implant procedure and implant-supported crown ranges from $3,500 to $5,000 for a traditional treatment timeline. In some instances, dental implants may be placed at the time the tooth is extracted. The tooth implant cost is typically $500-$1500 more for same-day treatment. Many opt for the traditional timeline in order to receive more affordable dental implants.
Video: Robert’s Experience With Dental Implants
5 Common Questions about Dental Implant Surgery and Recovery
1. Will I be awake during the implant surgery?
Whether you need one implant or a full mouth, you will be put to sleep with a local anesthetic.
2. How long is dental implant recovery?
Everyone heals differently. Typically once you have the implants placed in with the temporary crowns, the healing time ranges from 3-6 months. Once you have your permanent crowns, an additional 3-6 months are needed to fulfill total healing.
3. Is dental implant surgery painful?
Breathe easy, the dental implant surgery is not painful. According to prosthodontists, placing in an implant is easier than extracting a tooth. During the dental implant surgery you are put to sleep with a local anesthetic. The most you will feel is discomfort after the surgery that may last for a few days. The discomfort is typically felt in the chin, cheeks, and jaws; all discomfort can be managed with Ibuprofen.
4. What can I eat while I am healing? Will I be on a liquid diet?
After dental implant surgery, you will be on a soft diet for the first three months of healing. Our treatment coordinators will provide guidelines for foods to eat and avoid. Once your jaw has healed, we’ll recommend a soft, graduated diet. Until you are comfortable, we advise you to eat any foods that can be cut with the side of your fork.
Once your jaw has healed completely and your final prosthesis has been placed, you’ll be able to eat all the foods you love, including steak and corn-on-the-cob!
Read More: Foods to Eat After Dental Implant Surgery
5. Will I have teeth in a day with dental implant surgery?
The All-on-4 dental implant treatment can be completed in one day! After having your teeth extracted and replaced with the new dental implants, you are able to go home with a brand new smile. If you’re interested in having a few teeth extracted, once you come in for a consultation, the prosthodontist and treatment coordinator will let you know the time frame for this procedure.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today!
Explore your dental implant treatment options by contacting our dental implant specialists in Chicago and Waukesha. Call us at 844-365-7645 or schedule your complimentary consultation online.