Missing front teeth are very common, these teeth are normally lost because they are damaged at a young age, and they require more and more treatment, until there is nothing more that can be done.
I will show you 5 of the best ways to replace your missing front teeth, ranging from what is widely regarded as the best option, to the most cost effective.
Dental Implant Treatment
This is considered the gold standard of tooth replacement. The implant itself is a replacement for your natural tooth root and the replacement tooth sits on top of this false root.
The advantage of this treatment is that it is not reliant on any other tooth health (unlike any bridge option), and the success rates are very high compared to any other option. I normally quote a 90-95% success rate.
Disadvantages of dental implants are they are the most expensive option (initially, however as this lasts longer than anything else, its actually quite cost effective in the long term).
Dental implants do involve minor surgery to have them placed, and this can put a fair few people off the idea. For one or two implants, the surgery is quite minimal, and there is almost no pain afterwards!
They do take a little time to heal into the bone, so it can take 3-6 months to get your final tooth – however you do have a temporary tooth while this is happening.
If your tooth has been missing for a long time, there is a chance that the bone is reduced in that area, if this is the case, then you may need to have the bone increased before, or during when the implant(s) are placed.
Summary of Dental Implants
Treatment times: 3-6 months
Cost: Approx £2500 for full tooth (Implant, plus connector plus crown)
Number of appointments: 3-4 (normally)
Fixed Permanent Bridge
Fixed bridges are attached to the teeth either side of the missing tooth. The bridge consists of three teeth, and covers the two “prepared” teeth and the missing tooth.
The advantage of this treatment is that it is quick, and quite easy. It doesn’t often matter about how much bone is lost, and in the right cases, these bridges can last a long time.
On the down side, the success of this treatment is completely dependent on the health of the two teeth supporting the bridge. If one of the teeth needs to be removed, then there is a chance that the whole bridge will need to be removed, leaving you with two missing teeth! This is not a very common thing to happen, but its important to realise it.
Summary of Dental Bridges
Treatment times: 2-4 Weeks
Cost: Approx £650-800 per tooth, so a 3 tooth bridge would range from £2000 – £2400
Number of appointments: 2-3
These kinds of bridges are quite cheap (compared to other options), quite quick, look pretty good and don’t need a lot of healthy tooth adjustment! – Perfect, right?
Well, they are good, but I tend to just use them as a temporary tooth, while implants are healing. The big downside to this bridge is that they are far more likely to ‘unglue’ from your natural tooth. They can normally be stuck on again, but you need to see a dentist, and you can’t just do it at home!
Summary of “Sticky” Dental Bridges
Treatment times: 2-4 Weeks
Cost: Approx £650-800 per tooth.
Number of appointments: 2-3
How long will treatment last?: 1-5 years
If you don’t mind if your new teeth are fixed in position or not, then a removable denture could work very well. With any dental treatment, there is a massive difference in the quality of removable dentures from practice to practice and dentist to dentist.
Quite often people will have cheap, and nasty removable teeth, because this can be the absolute cheapest way to replace multiple teeth. You can tell the quality of the denture, by looking at the fit, does it move side to side? does it fall out by itself? Does it feel really bulky?
Good quality dentures will fit perfectly, and are often based on a metal skeleton. Metal based dentures are often a far better denture than normal plastic ones.
Sometimes there is no way to make a denture that doesn’t rock around, loose dentures can be stabilised by placing a few dental implants and using a connector to stabilise them.
The advantage of dentures are they are quite cost effective, and can replace many teeth at once. For some people, a big disadvantage is that the denture is removable, and should be removed at night.
The success of dentures is completely dependant on the individual case, and could work really well for some people, and not very well for others. Your dentist will be able to advise you on how well it will work for you before to start anything.
Summary of Removable Dentures
Treatment times: 1-2 months
Cost: Approx £1200 per denture.
Number of appointments: 4-6
This is a very temporary kind off bridge. The bridge is made from white filling materials, and looks okay, but I wouldn’t recommend it for front tooth replacement. It is connected to the teeth either side by a similar way as the sticky bridge. The difference is that the metal based bridge is made by a specialist lab, and the composite bridge is made in the dental treatment room.
The life span is less than the metal based bridge, and although these bridges can be reinforced with fibre glass, they should not really be regarded as permanent tooth replacement, and are best as an emergency or short term treatment.
As the tooth is not made from porcelain, it can pick up stain quickly.
Summary of Composite Bridges
Treatment times: 45 mins
Cost: Approx £300-500 per denture.