Three Tooth Replacement Options

One of the most common needs in dentistry is to replace a missing tooth or teeth.  Really when it comes down to it you have three replacement options.

1.  A Removable Partial Denture:  Most of the time this is the most economic solution for patients.  A RPD has its limitations and its benefit though, so lets review those here.  The nice things about RPD's are the price, and the fact that they are so minimally invasive.  There is hardly ever any need to perform any type of invasive procedure to do a RPD.  (Exceptions could include removal of bony projections in order for an appliance to fit correctly, or crowns that are required to make the appliance fit correctly.)  The limitations to an RPD are the cosmetics, and the hassle of removal maintenance.  Cosmetics are definitely limited in a removable appliance due to the need for clasps that circle around certain teeth.  The maintenance issue is mainly taking the appliance out in the evening and cleaning them several times per day.

2.  A Fixed Partial Denture Commonly referred to as a Bridge:  This is usually the middle of the road option, but sometimes the best.  The advantages of a Bridge are its permanence, and esthetics.  The disadvantages are the price, and the invasiveness. 

3.  Implant Dentistry:  This is usually the top of the line treatment option if you are a good health candidate.  The advantages of this option are the esthetics, and the ability to preserve adjacent tooth structure.  The disadvantages of this procedure are the price, the time needed for completion, and that a surgery is indicated. 

This is a visual example of the two most common ways to replace a single missing tooth.

This is a visual example of the two most common ways to replace a single missing tooth.