Patient’s Guide to Replacing Missing Teeth

Dental implants, crowns, bridge, or dentures:
Which is the better option to replace missing teeth?


First, let’s define dental implants, crowns, bridges, and dentures. There are two parts of a tooth: the root that lies under the gums and cannot be seen and the crown which is the white part you see when you smile.

  • A dental implant replaces the root of the tooth under the gums when the root is injured to the point of necessary removal (more than a root canal) and unable to support the attached tooth. Dental implants permanently support and secure the crown.
  • A crown is an actual tooth or the white top part above the gums that you can see. The crown is what takes all the pressure of eating, biting, chewing.
  • A bridge is utilized to close – or bridge – an open space where a single tooth or several teeth are missing. It is typically a porcelain crown, or crowns, held in place by the teeth on either side of the space to naturally blend into your smile.
  • A denture replaces many teeth and can be removable or fixed (with implants). Removable dentures can be removed, as stated, and sit on top of the gum area, held in place with pressure. Fixed dentures also replace many teeth but are attached to several spaced implants. This allows a partial or full arch denture to be stable and permanent.

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Today’s dental technologies and aesthetics have given way to great options for individuals to replace missing teeth, whether a single tooth or a full arch. When a tooth is fully removed, it is usually due to the root being unable to support the crown, such as the crown being broken and having cracked below the gumline, or due to an infection that has compromised the health of the tooth.

Replacing the crown alone is effective when a crack only affects the crown part of the tooth. This can occur with trauma from malocclusion, an accident, biting something hard, lack of daily oral care, or when cavities, over time, grow or shift causing the internal crown structure to be unstable. The option of a dental implant, crown, bridge or denture, depends upon the tooth, or teeth, to be replaced.

Why should I replace a missing tooth?

Although not always visible to others, when an entire tooth is removed, replacing it ensures the jaw muscles and gums are being utilized and lessen the chance for recession. When the area is open and without a tooth or implant, the area is like a muscle that isn’t being used and can atrophy. With that, the gums can recede and the surrounding teeth, like a book missing on a bookshelf, will lean in or collapse. In addition, tooth loss can change your speech or facial contours, and has been known to affect confidence. The options of dental implants, crowns, bridges or dentures depends upon the tooth or teeth that are to be replaced, as they each have unique features that may make one option better for you and not for someone else.

Dental Implants are titanium or ceramic structures that are implanted into the jawbone and act as a replacement root for the restoration. Over time they integrate with your bone, providing a stable base for new teeth and stimulation to maintain the active bone of your jaw. Using a variety of options, restorations of replacement teeth being crowns, bridges, or dentures, are attached to the implants, securing the new tooth or teeth, allowing you to eat and smile as you did before tooth loss.

Dentures can be fixed or removable, and full or partial as they replace one or more missing teeth. They require routine exams and maintenance to ensure continual proper fit and function. Removable dentures do not provide the pressure to help maintain jawbone density long-term but are more affordable. In addition, upper dentures have a tendency to cover the roof of your mouth and can interfere with your ability to eat or taste as you did before.

What Is the Most Cost-Effective Way to Replace a Missing Tooth?

In the short-term, dentures can be the least expensive way to replace one or more missing teeth. However, maintenance exams and repairs, as well as permanent changes to your jawbone density, can continue to add cost over time.

Dental implants may cost more up front as they are more involved, however they tend to have far fewer long-term issues and much better results.

How much are dental implants vs dentures?

Each individual will have a different treatment plan based upon their dental health: bone density, periodontal health, aesthetic desires, etc. Dental implants, when placed individually, look very close to your natural teeth. Dentures replace several missing teeth while looking and functioning very close to your natural teeth. As they are all connected in one piece, they are less intricate and typically a lower cost. To create and assess the finances for your specific treatment plan, call our team and they will discuss fees and how to create a payment plan that can work for you.

What Is the Best Option for Replacing Missing Teeth?

There is no one definitive answer to this question. Dental implants and dentures are the two most common replacement choices, because of their versatility in looking and functioning very close to your natural teeth. Additionally, each patient’s health history and desires are unique. Costs, Insurance benefits, and individual preferences all figure into a personal answer. To discuss your specific replacement option, call our team and ask, Smileboston Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry Phone Number 617-277-4100, or use our online appointment request form, to get started.

Why Choose Smileboston Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry?

Dr. Steven D. Spitz and Dr. Russell H. Taylor were voted Top Dentists in Boston by their peers. Dr. Spitz is a Prosthodontist, with extra training and experience in more complex dental procedures such as dental implants, gum recession, dentures, full mouth rehabilitation, and smile makeovers, and Dr. Taylor has concentrated in Botox for TMJ and aesthetics for many years.

We invite you to read and watch testimonials from our patients and look at our Before and After photos. At Smileboston Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry, our experienced dental specialists use advanced technology to deliver multiple tooth replacement treatments in one office. Your comfort and satisfaction are our goals. Call us today at Smileboston Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry Phone Number 617-277-4100 for an in-office or virtual consultation.

Confidence Begins With A Great Smile!

Contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment to reclaim your smile today!

Call us: 617-277-4100