As a child, a missing tooth is a rite of passage and cause for children to celebrate an anticipated visit from the Tooth Fairy. As adults, a missing tooth or tooth that might need to be replaced is another story altogether.
The emotional impact of losing one of your teeth combined with the financial cost associated with repairing it leads people to some rather hasty decisions without considering all the factors. We recommend dental implants because it offers a permanent solution without altering any teeth besides the missing one.
Treatments for missing teeth or teeth that need replacing include:
- Transitional replacement – Merely an aesthetic solution that offers limited functionality.
- Bridge – This involves a tooth replacement and trimming adjacent teeth to transition smoothly with the false tooth. Trimming teeth can increase risk of the tooth abscessing or gum disease.
- Dental implant - A Titanium based cylinder that replaces the missing tooth root. After a period of time and when the implant has integrated other parts will be placed on the implant, enabling your dentist to eventually place a crown (cap) on the implant.
The process of replacing a tooth via dental implant takes three to six months. An oral surgeon performs the initial phase, which involves replacing the root. Typically, your regular dentist will complete the remainder of the procedure, placing the crown/cap on the implant.
The cost of a dental implant can vary depending on the extent of the repair. Most dental plans will not cover the surgery portion of the procedure. Most plans will cover the crown portion of the procedure up to a certain amount (for most plans, it’s around $1500). You should check with your dental plan provider before committing to a dental implant to be certain of exactly how much is covered.
While a dental implant is certainly a conservative approach, more and more dentists are recommending dental implants as the preferred method of tooth replacement because of its durability and the lack of potential side effects.
For a clear explanation of the difference between a bridge and dental implact, please consult your dentist.