Missing one tooth and you want to know if there is a solution? Well, make that a resounding yes! Your single tooth denture can be customised to suit your unique clinical, aesthetic and budgetary needs. A visit to your dental prosthetist for an assessment and advice is your first port of call.
What choices do I have if I have a single missing tooth?
Firstly, when it comes to replacing a missing tooth there are two main choices. Depending on your clinical situation and available finances, you can choose to have a dental implant or alternatively, you can choose a single tooth denture option. So, what are the pros and cons of each?
Single tooth dental implant
The dental implant option most closely mimics a natural tooth experience. A tooth implant is not removable. Once fitted, they remain fixed in place. However, not everyone is a suitable candidate for dental implants for the following reasons:
- Surgery is required to implant a metal post into your jaw
- Bone grafts may be needed if your jawbone is insufficient to support the post over which the tooth is fitted
- The implant process takes more time than the manufacture of a single tooth denture
- The cost of an implant compared to a denture is far greater than a partial denture
Single ThermoSens tooth denture and the ‘flipper’ single tooth denture
Unlike the single tooth implant, the single tooth partial denture is a viable option for most people despite their bone quality status. There are two main denture options to choose from in this category, depending upon the location of the missing tooth you wish to replace and the material from which it is made.
The flipper denture is an acrylic denture attached to a small palate (otherwise known as a ‘plate’ or ‘flipper’), designed to replace a single lost front tooth or even two lost teeth. It is secured in place with clasps. Whereas the Thermoplastic Ezifit is a single tooth denture which replaces one or up to three posterior or back teeth and has no acrylic palate but rather is held in place by the undercut.
In each case, the manufacturing and fitting process for a single tooth denture takes less time than that required for an implant. Further, the cost of a single tooth denture is far less than a dental implant.
While the dental implant offers a virtual ‘get and forget advantage’, the removeable nature of a denture means replacement is likely in future years as your mouth geography shrinks and changes with age. Unlike a fixed dental implant, rough handling and accidents can result in breakages, and are more of a possibility when your denture is out of your mouth.
How do I choose a one tooth partial denture for me?
There is a single tooth denture for you no matter what your aesthetic preference, clinical situation, or budget. Never before has dental technology offered such a wide range of options. The best place to begin understanding the process, begins with a visit to your dental prosthetist who will guide you through the options available for your unique circumstances. Once your prosthetist has assessed your clinical requirements, they will explain the different features of each base material whether it be:
- Acrylic – the most popular and most economical
- Thermoplastic/flexible – extremely easy to insert and wear, very robust
Questions to consider when choosing a single tooth partial denture
Your prosthetist will guide you through the process of getting a partial one-tooth denture. While price is an important consideration, there are equally important things to consider, so ideally a balance must be achieved. The main questions for you to discuss with your prosthetist are:
- How comfortable is this denture?
- Will the price fit my budget?
- Is this denture robust and how long can I expect it to last?
- How natural will the denture look?
Denture comfort and you
The comfort of your denture is the optimal aim. Without it, there is little point having dentures at all. However, everyone is different. We each have different expectations, differing abilities to persevere and push through to our desired outcomes. It’s important to remember that hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions around the globe, wear dentures successfully. A successful denture relies on the pact you make with your oral health professionals. Just like you, your dental prosthetist wants the best possible outcome for you. Working together, this outcome is very achievable.
Is a single tooth or flipper denture easy to get used to?
For some patients, becoming accustomed to wearing something foreign in their mouths is easy, while for others it takes a little patience until they get used to them.
The benefits far outweigh any effort you make while learning to wear your one-tooth partial denture. Among the advantages are restored appearance, being able to chew with a full set of teeth, as well as the added benefit of reducing possible health issues of having gaps caused by missing teeth in the jawbone.
Instances where a single tooth denture is unsuitable.
- Unsuitable for those patients who have epilepsy or seizures
- where there is not enough space for the tooth
- where the abutment teeth either side of the gap are unviable or not in a healthy state
How much does a single tooth denture cost?
The cost of restoring your smile with a single tooth denture is far outweighed by the benefits to your appearance and confidence. However, budgetary restraints are an important reality for most people and must be carefully considered.
Once your dental prosthetist has assessed your needs and preferences, a more exact idea of your one-tooth denture cost can be established.
However, depending on the denture base materials, your single tooth partial denture will cost approximately:
- Acrylic partial flipper denture – from $865
- Ezifit (ThermoSens) partial denture – from $1265
If the upfront costs of a partial denture are putting you off, consider the many no-interest, payment plans on offer. Being able to spread payments over a period of months may even allow you to upgrade your choices.
How long will my single tooth partial denture last?
The degree of wear on a partial denture is as unique as the individual wearer which makes it difficult to determine the lifespan of a partial denture. However, regular checks and good maintenance will certainly help to preserve the longevity of your partial denture. With care you can expect your acrylic partial denture to last between 5-7 years, and your Thermosens or nylon partial denture to last between 2-3 years. Regular checks with your prosthetist will address small issues, like undue pressure caused by loose dentures, before the small issues compromise the denture’s integrity.
Will people know I’m wearing a partial denture?
This is a common concern for those contemplating dentures, whether it is full dentures or a single tooth denture. Be reassured, dental technology has made huge advances in recent years, producing aesthetically pleasing and natural looking teeth. Some patients, worried about how their new teeth will look, are often delighted to discover their new smile is even better than the one they had before, transforming their whole look. This is especially the case if the tooth they are missing is in the very front of their smile.
Single tooth denture repairs
Most partial dentures can be repaired if you happen to break them, or lose a tooth, or a clasp. Depending on what is broken, partial dentures made with flexible materials like ThermoSens, can also be repaired. Flexible partial dentures ThermoSens technology like the EziFit, cannot be added to however, nor repaired if a clasp breaks.
How do I maintain my one tooth partial denture?
Try to think of maintaining your partial denture as protecting an investment in your comfort, appearance and especially your pocket. It doesn’t take much time or effort to do so but will serve you well by increasing your partial denture’s lifespan.
The maintenance regime for a single tooth denture
- Rinse your partial denture under warm running water, but never use hot water which may warp the base.
- Brush gently with a soft bristle toothbrush and plain soap.
- Be sure to gently brush around all the grooves and crevasses.
- Then rinse under running water and place on a towel in a safe place to dry
How do I know a single tooth partial denture is right for me?
You are a candidate for a partial denture unless you are subject to seizures which may pose a choking a hazard, or if you are unable to insert and remove the partial denture by yourself. But don’t think you are alone in making this decision. Consulting a dental prosthetist can help you decide what is best for you clinically and according to your aesthetic preferences. Some denture clinics offer free consultations where you can be clinically assessed, discuss the options with an oral health professional, get a treatment plan and be given a quote.
It’s only one missing tooth so why do I need to replace it?
Wearing a partial denture to replace missing natural teeth does more than restore your smile and ability to fully enjoy the eating experience. Replacing missing natural teeth with a partial denture helps to stem natural bone loss and affords stability, preserving the integrity of your facial structure. Without teeth to support them, facial muscles can collapse inward giving you a less youthful appearance, and even prematurely aging you. Now who could possibly want that?
A final word
Getting a single tooth acrylic flipper partial denture or a ThermoSens EziFit partial denture to replace a missing natural tooth makes sense. The benefits far outweigh any temporary inconvenience you may experience while becoming accustomed to it. Even a tight budget or lack of funds are no longer an excuse to smile behind your hand. The highly customisable nature of dentures these days ensures you get a beautiful smile as totally unique as you are. Given the right level of maintenance and care, your partial denture will serve you well for years.