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Lost a Tooth? You Have Options

April 29, 2015

Filed under: Home Blog Listing,Sage Blog — Tags: , , , , — Dr. Terry Batliner @ 6:29 pm

Losing a tooth or teeth as an adult can be upsetting or embarrassing. But thanks to new technology, there are now a variety of ways to restore a great smile.

Here are the four options we offer our patients at Sage Dental Care. There are advantages and disadvantages to each so lets go through them:

1. Implant

If you have lost a tooth and have sufficient bone left after the extraction or injury, you can get an implant and have the tooth restored with a prosthetic tooth. An implant is a great option, it’s the next best thing to a natural tooth. It’s strong and stable, it maintains the health of the surrounding mouth structure, and it looks, fits and functions like a natural tooth. But you should be aware of a few potential issues.

Things to consider about whether an implant is right for you:
Your Mouth Structure – There is a nerve that runs along the base of the jaw so there must be 8 to 10 mm of bone above the nerve in place to accept an implant. In the upper jaw, there is a sinus so you need 8 to 10 mm of bone below the sinus to place an implant. In either case, if you have a shortcoming in bone structure, a bone graft or sinus augmentation procedure might remedy this. A thorough exam will determine the feasibility of this. This procedure increases the cost and complicates the effort a bit, but is very reliable and works well for most healthy non-smokers who want an implant but do not have enough bone in the lower or upper jaw.

Cost – There are two primary procedures that make up an implant. The first, performed by our oral surgeon partner, is placing the actual implant or titanium post into the jaw. This usually runs about $2,000 to $2,500. If you need bone grafts or a sinus augmentation, the cost will be more. Your general dentist here at Sage will then charge $1,300 to $1,800 to build the actual tooth on top of the implant. This procedure requires two elements, an abutment that screws into the implant and a crown that is usually cemented on the abutment.

Time – No matter what you have heard, implants will take a few weeks to four months before you can really use the teeth they support. More about implants.

2. Bridge

If you have lost a tooth, or two, or sometimes even four, a bridge may be an option. A bridge consists of a crown or cap on the teeth on either side of the space where the tooth or teeth were lost. Prosthetic teeth are rigidly attached to these crowns completing the bridge. The entire appliance is then cemented in the mouth by cementing the crowns on the teeth at either end of the bridge.

A bridge is often a good option for people who want a replacement without the inconvenience of having to take it in and out of the mouth, or for some reason they aren’t good candidates for implants. People who smoke should probably consider this as the first option. Implants have lower success rates in people who smoke.

The cost of a bridge is less than implants but still significant. A bridge will cost about $850 to $1,200 for each tooth involved. The smallest bridges involve three teeth and start about $2,400. Larger and more complicated bridges will cost more.

Bridges look great and are a good option, but they are often more difficult to clean than crowns supported by implants. Also, the longevity of a bridge depends on the strength of the supporting teeth and the length of the span between the teeth. Weaker supporting teeth or long span bridges tend to break down quicker than bridges with short spans and strong supporting teeth. More about a bridge.

3. Removable Partial Denture

Another option to replace a tooth or set of teeth is a removable partial denture. These are either made completely of plastic or alternatively of metal with plastic teeth attached to the metal. Partial dentures are usually held in with clasps that hook around 2 or more of the remaining teeth. Partial dentures can also be attached to implants for a secure fit. However, this complicates things and therefore takes more time to complete and also costs more. The cost of a partial denture is $1,200 to 2,000.

4. Snap-On Smile®

This is a proprietary name for a high tech but medium-term way to replace teeth. In this approach, very accurate impressions of your teeth are taken and sent to a lab, which fabricates plastic teeth that snap over your existing teeth. The Snap-on Smile can often be used to replace one or multiple teeth or it can be used to make existing teeth look better. You can eat with it but it must be removed and cleaned several times a day just like a traditional partial denture. The cost of a Snap-on Smile is around $1,200 to $1,500 and it lasts 3 to 5 years. It is guaranteed for one year by the lab. It’s an affordable, albeit somewhat inconvenient option, but might be a good choice if you currently don’t have the time or budget for implants.

One of these options is likely right for you. Let us restore you smile comfortably and affordably.

Contact us today for a free consultation and we will explain your options in detail.

Also, if you have insurance, your plan may cover a portion of your procedure. If you don’t have insurance, we offer great savings through our Gloss Dental Discount Plan. We can review all costs during your consultation.

Let’s get you smiling again.

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