Anyone who has lost all of their teeth or is on their way to losing all of their teeth, has several options to choose from to replace the teeth. Here we’ll cover the different options for replacing teeth as well as the pros and cons of each.
When it comes to replacing teeth, there is no one solution that can be considered the ‘best’ solution for replacing missing teeth. Ultimately the choice is with the patient with their dentist offering guidance based on the patient’s needs, dental situation, and budget.
Here are some of the considerations for each method or replacing missing teeth:
Using dentures to replace missing teeth has been an option for millennia. It’s not until more recently, however, that dental laboratories and dentists have been able to create some truly beautiful dentures. Despite the technology and skill being available for great dentures, many people, in a quest to save money, end up getting poorly made dentures that don’t fit quite right or don’t look as good as they want.
Even a well-made denture may leave much to be desired, however. The denture may look good, but it will still feel bulky in the mouth and not restore the function of natural teeth, especially when it comes to chewing.
Additionally, the longer the jaw bone has no teeth in it the more the bone will start disappearing in a process called ‘resorption’.
Despite all this, for some people, this is the right solution either due to budget constraints or personal preference.
- Snap-On Dentures
Just like normal dentures, these are removable, but they are more secure in the mouth since they snap onto dental implants. If you are currently using a regular denture, this should feel like an improvement since it feel more secure in the mouth and it will feel less bulky.
Despite this, it’s still bulkier than all-on-4 and over time patients find that the attachments to the implants wear out due the constant removal and placement.
Since snap-ons involve placing dental implants in the mouth, this is more expensive than normal dentures, but not quite as expensive as all-on-4 dental implants.
The aesthetics can be really good, but again it depends on the quality of the denture that was created.
This method of replacing teeth, where a denture is fixed onto 4 implants permanently, has become one of most popular ways of replacing a whole row of teeth in the past several years. One of the reasons for its popularity is that it can look and feel almost indistinguishable from natural teeth.
Since the denture is permanently fixed onto the dentures, it feels even ore secure in the mouth and doesn’t wear out from constantly being removed and replaced like snap-on dentures might. This also allows for it to be designed to be less bulky.
An added benefit of all-on-4 hybrid dentures is that often patients can walk out of the office with a denture already in place, unlike with snap-ons, where patients have to wait for the implants to fully heal.
As always, the aesthetics of the denture depend on the skill of the dentist and laboratory technician as well as the material chosen.
- Dental Implants and Bridges
With this method, the teeth are replaced by multiple dental implants strategically placed all across the jaw and topped with dental bridges. Since more dental implants are placed than with all-on-4 the dental prostheses gets more support. Because of all of this support this solution is also the least bulky in the mouth of all the solutions and feels the most natural.
With this marginal gain in form and function, however comes a large increase in cost, since more dental implants need to be placed to achieve this. For some patients this might be the right solution, however, if there are already multiple dental implants in the mouth.
Ultimately the choice of treatment is up to the patient and we hope that this short guide empowers patients to feel more informed when having a conversation about treatment options for missing teeth with their dentist.