Dental Options for Replacing Missing Teeth

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Table of Contents

  1. Bridges
  2. Dental Implants
  3. Partial Dentures

When it comes to oral health, there are few things that scare people more than losing a tooth. Not only is a missing tooth often noticeable and uncomfortable, but it can also lead to more oral health problems and create difficulties in eating and in everyday life.

In order to avoid these issues and maintain the structure and integrity of your jaw and bite, it’s important to replace a missing tooth as quickly as possible. Depending on the causes of your missing tooth and your situation, you’ll likely choose from three options to replace your missing tooth: a fixed bridge, a dental implant, or partial dentures.

We’ll provide a detailed examination of the pros, cons, and costs you can consider for replacing missing teeth. However, this chart can help you see your choices at a glance:





Maintenance Requirements


$1,100-$2,300 for one false tooth

5-10 years

Ceramic or porcelain look very natural



$2,400-$3,000 for one false tooth




Partial Dentures


5-10 years

Rarely look natural



Dental bridges use crowns. Crowns are caps that are placed on top of dental implants or damaged teeth in order to protect, cover, and provide shape to teeth or implants. They can be made of porcelain, ceramics, metal, or resin, and they are generally low maintenance.

In dentistry, bridges are formed by fusing artificial teeth to a metal frame that is supported by cement bonds that are attached to crowns on either healthy, natural teeth or dental implants.

Dental bridges aren’t appropriate for people who don’t have healthy teeth. Your bridge needs something to attach to. If you have weak teeth or severe gum disease, this may not be the right option for you.

Cost of replacing missing teeth with a bridge

Depending on a number of factors—including the materials used, the complexity of the procedure, and your choice of dentist—a bridge typically costs about $1,100 to $2,300 for one false tooth.

Additional costs can include the following:

  • Wings (which attach the crown to the teeth): $250 to $550

  • Additional teeth: Varies by how many you need

  • Implants (to attach the crown to the teeth if wings won’t work): $3,500 to $30,000 or more

Long-term care of a bridge

The American Dental Association points out that a bridge relies on the health of the teeth it’s attached to. You can’t remove the bridge to clean it, but it’s crucial to keep all your natural teeth as healthy as possible.

To care for your mouth, brush your teeth, gums, and palate with a soft-bristled brush. Gently brush with a fluoride-containing toothbrush twice a day for two minutes. Follow that with a floss to remove trapped food. Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and preventive advice.

Pros of replacing missing teeth with a bridge

  • If fitted properly, bridges should have a very comfortable and natural feeling.

  • Bridges are generally less expensive than dental implants.

  • The process of getting a dental bridge is less invasive than dental implant surgery and requires fewer procedures and dentist visits.

  • If your bridge is made with ceramic or porcelain materials, they will look natural and not noticeable.

  • Your dental insurance may cover some of the costs of a dental bridge, depending on your plan and provider.

Cons of replacing missing teeth with a bridge

  • In order to get a bridge, the surrounding teeth will have to be treated with crowns, meaning they will be filed down in order to fit properly. Their enamel will be damaged, even if they are healthy teeth. If you decide to get dental implants later, those teeth will still be damaged from enamel removal.

  • Bridges usually need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years.

  • If fitted incorrectly, bridges may feel less natural than dental implants.

  • Bridges require more maintenance than dental implants, and there is a higher risk of tooth decay.

  • Not everyone is a candidate for bridges. People with crowded teeth may not have space for bridgework, and people with weakened teeth roots or certain jaw conditions may be unsuitable for bridges.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are titanium metal screw posts that are placed in a person’s mouth to replace a missing tooth. Implant fixtures serve to replace a problem tooth’s root and hold artificial teeth in place. They are used to secure bridges, crowns, partial dentures, and full dentures. 

If your mouth or jaw is not strong enough, your dentist may need to perform a dental bone graft to provide the structure needed to hold the implant. This can add a considerable amount of time to the implant process, as the bone will have to heal for three to nine months after a bone graft procedure before an implant procedure can be performed.

Once it’s been confirmed that your mouth and jaw can support the implant, the implant post is fitted into your gum with a small cap. For a few weeks, your jawbone will grow around the post. This provides strength around the structure.

Once the implant is secure, the cap is removed and replaced with a titanium screw. Your dentist then puts on your porcelain crown (color-matched to the rest of your teeth), either cementing or screwing it on to the titanium nail.

Dental implants require significant procedures, and they’re not right for everyone. If you have diabetes or an autoimmune condition, they could be too dangerous for you. If you have weaker bones in your mouth due to disease or poor oral hygiene, an implant could also be unsafe, as the post won’t have healthy tissue to grab.

How long does treatment take?

The process of getting an implant may require a lot of time and multiple visits to your dentist. After an initial scan of your mouth, your dentist will decide if your jaw and gums are strong enough to receive an implant. In order to provide the sturdy support it’s designed to provide, the implant needs to be well-supported by the rest of your mouth.

It can take months to fully recover from a dental implant surgery. If you need bone grafts or multiple extractions, it can take longer.

Cost of replacing missing teeth with dental implants

The cost of dental implants varies greatly depending on several factors, such as the type of sedation used and whether bone grafting is needed. Generally, the cost of replacing a single missing tooth with a dental implant will run from $2,400 to $3,000.

Other fees might be involved with an implant like this, including the following:

  • Placing the device: $500-$3,000

  • Multiple teeth: Varies

  • Extractions: $300-$450

  • Bone grafts: $200-$1,200

Long-term care of a dental implant

A dental implant is anchored into your jaw, just like a real tooth. While implant materials like porcelain can’t develop cavities due to plaque, the teeth around them can. And poor gum health can make your implants weaker.

To care for your smile, brush your teeth for two minutes twice per day with a soft-bristled brush and antibacterial toothpaste. Floss daily to remove trapped food. Visit your dentist regularly for help and advice in keeping your smile as healthy as possible.

Pros of replacing missing teeth with dental implants

  • Many dental implants will last for your lifetime and won’t require replacement.

  • Unlike bridges, dental implants don’t require the support of other teeth and therefore don’t require the surrounding teeth to be altered or weakened.

  • Dental implants feel very natural.

  • Dental implants look like your normal teeth.

  • Dental implants provide strength and structure to your bite and keep teeth from shifting out of place.

  • Dental implants don’t require additional maintenance.

Cons of replacing missing teeth with dental implants

  • The process of getting dental implants is more involved (possibly including bone grafting and multiple dentist visits) and requires at least one surgery.

  • Dental implants may be more expensive than bridges or dentures.

  • Insurance plans may be more likely to cover the costs of bridgework rather than dental implants. Talk to your insurance provider to confirm.

  • Not everyone is a candidate for dental implants, including people with certain types of diabetes, those who have undergone certain radiation treatments, and smokers.

  • While 95 percent of dental implants are successful, there is still a 5 percent chance of your dental implant being rejected by the body and having to be removed.

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are removable replacement teeth, designed to fit between your natural teeth. Crowns can also be used to hold the dentures in place if your natural teeth aren’t strong enough to serve as an anchor. 

With partial dentures, artificial teeth are on a natural, gum-colored base, often attached to a metal base. That metal base fits securely in your mouth, between teeth or crowns. Partial dentures are removable. For people missing all of their teeth, full dentures are available.

Cost of replacing teeth with partial dentures

Partial dentures are removable replacement teeth designed to fit between your natural teeth. Crowns can also be used to hold the dentures in place if your natural teeth aren’t strong enough to serve as an anchor.

With partial dentures, artificial teeth are on a natural, gum-colored base, often attached to a metal base. That metal base fits securely in your mouth, between teeth or crowns. Partial dentures are removable. For people missing all of their teeth, full dentures are available.

Partial dentures or full dentures are appropriate for almost anyone. You don’t need surgeries or long healing times to wear them.

How long does treatment take?

Your treatment time frames depend on how many teeth must be pulled before care begins. Your mouth must be fully healed before you put a hard plate over the sores. Often, people need several months after an extraction for a proper fitting of their dentures.

Cost of replacing teeth with partial dentures

The cost of dentures will depend on a number of factors, including the materials used, the dentist you use, and whether or not you’ll require crown work. The average cost for partial dentures is around $300 to $500.

Additional costs associated with partial dentures include the following:

  • Extractions: $300-$450

  • Luxury materials (like gold): $1,000-$3,000

Long-term care of partial dentures

Partial dentures should be removed and rinsed to dislodge any loose food or debris that they’ve gathered. You can use a soft-bristled brush or a nonabrasive cleanser to keep them tidy and fresh.

Brush your natural teeth with a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste for two minutes twice daily. Floss at least once daily. Visit your dentist regularly for more advice on protecting your smile

Pros of replacing teeth with partial denture

  • Partial dentures are the most affordable tooth replacement option and frequently covered by dental insurance.

  • The process of getting dentures is noninvasive and doesn’t require surgery.

  • Because they are removable, dentures can offer an easier temporary solution to a missing tooth if you are still deciding on another option. 

  • If you are limited in options, choosing partial dentures is better than not replacing a missing tooth at all, as they will help with eating, speech, and jaw support.

Cons of replacing teeth with partial dentures

  • Dentures feel less natural than implants or bridges and can take time to get used to.

  • Dentures can slip out while you’re eating or talking.

  • Dentures require additional maintenance as bacteria and particles can build between artificial teeth. In addition to daily dental hygiene, dentures need to be cleaned and sterilized as well.

  • Most dentures will loosen after a few years use. If they aren’t replaced, the loosened fit can cause discomfort and mouth sores.

  • Certain foods can cause problems for denture-wearers and may need to be avoided. These include sticky candy, popcorn, seeded crackers, and some chewy meats.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.