Missing tooth or teeth
There are a variety of options on how to replace one or more teeth.
Missing one tooth in your smile line
If you are missing one tooth in your smile line there are 4 options: leave as a space, wear a removable denture, restore with a bridge or an implant. The prices indicated below are private costs and assume it is not an ACC injury. ACC can contribute between 25-50% of the costs of the options below, as long as your mouth can be proved to be in a healthy condition. Here are some pro’s and cons of each replacement tooth option:
- Leave as a space: cheapest option. Please take into consideration that as there will be less teeth to bite on, on that side, the opposite side of your mouth may take more of the chewing forces, therefore making these teeth more likely to break or wear down. Ideally having twelve teeth on the upper and lower arches, ensures an even bite.
- Removable denture or “plate”: cheap option. The pink plastic (acrylic) denture covers the roof of your mouth, meaning you cannot taste food and drink as well. Food can get stuck underneath the denture, which if not regularly removed and cleaned daily, can cause a fungal infection in the mouth. It is a removable option and is not “fixed in”. Cost starts from $350. It takes one week to make a single-tooth denture with Avenues Dental Lab (NZ Laboratory). It is a good temporary option prior to restoring an implant (see below). A denture may last 5 years.
Bridge, two options - fixed or resin-retained
- A fixed bridge involves cutting teeth either side of the space into little peg teeth, and Evolve Dental Studio (NZ Laboratory) taking a shade of the teeth to achieve the best colour-match possible. The prosthetic bridge is then fitted 2 weeks later. Cost starts from $3500. Disadvantages – it is a destructive option as potentially unfilled teeth are cut to little pegs and also these two peg-teeth now support the weight of 3 teeth. A bridge may last 10+ years when placed in optimal conditions and maintained with excellent oral hygiene.
- A resin-retained bridge involves minimal preparation of an adjacent tooth, and Evolve Dental Studio take a shade of the teeth to achieve the best colour-match possible. The bridge is then ready to fit 2 weeks later. It is an excellent solution for areas not under heavy load e.g. at the front of the mouth, but a poor replacement option for posterior teeth. Cost is approximately $2100. 85% should last 5 years, and likely to last longer if optimal oral hygiene is maintained.
- Implant – titanium screw that replaces a single tooth without destroying teeth either side (unlike a fixed-bridge). The screw is placed into the jawbone, which over a period of 3-6 months, the bone knits to the screw to hold it in place. Once the implant has "osseo-integrated" i.e. fused with the bone, an implant crown can be placed. Implants are the most expensive option, however compared with the other options, can last a lifetime if well-maintained through excellent oral hygiene. Cost starts from $6500 including the surgery and restoration.
Missing multiple teeth
If you are missing multiple teeth there are 4 options: leave spaces, removable denture, bridge or implant.
- Leave spaces – will be putting the remaining teeth under more load/pressure, therefore making them more likely to break.
- Removable denture – can make a partial denture out of pink plastic (acrylic) or metal (cobalt chrome). A full denture is made entirely out of acrylic (costs from $1700 for upper or lower), but can be fixed securely into place via titanium implants. Can take 5-6 weeks to make a complete denture as there are multiple stages in the construction, using Avenues Dental Lab.
- Bridge – good option as long as there are teeth either side of the single tooth space. Can be constructed in 2 weeks from Evolve Dental Studio once the preparation is completed.
- Implants – multiple implants can be placed, eg. to replace all upper adult teeth is 4-6 implants, would take 6-12 months. This is a complex case and would require referral to a specialist (Andrew Newsom, who also works in the same building as Gardens Dental).