Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Individual Dental Plans and other Dental Plans topics.
We've all seen cartoons in which an old man gets slapped on the back so hard that his teeth pop right out of his mouth. That gag never really gets old, but, ironically, as we age we may require dentures ourselves. Luckily, there are other options for replacing missing teeth, including implants and bridges. Each of these tooth replacement options is best in different situations and insurance coverage is different for each of these treatments, so if you're missing one or more teeth, you should look into all three potential treatments.
Dentures are removable and are constructed specifically for each individual mouth. They do take some time getting used to, but are comfortable, allow you to eat just about anything, and can be cleaned off every night (as in the cup of teeth next to the old man's bed in the cartoon). Dentures are covered at least 50% by most individual dental plans.
Implants are permanent replacements for your missing teeth, and are actually connected via a titanium false root that is inserted into your jawbone. Though probably superior to removable dentures, you may be too old to go through the difficult and painful procedure of getting even one implant, a process that involves anesthesia and several steps to fully complete, let alone several. As such, implants are typically used to replace teeth that have been lost due to trauma and not simply poor dental health and gum disease. Implants may or may not be covered by your dental plan, so if getting one is a reasonable option, you should consult your dental health care provider to see if it covers implants.
Bridges, like implants, are permanent and cannot be used to fill in gaps several teeth wide. If you are missing a single tooth between two healthy teeth, a false, bridge tooth can be attached to its neighbors. Unfortunately, bridges are very expensive and considered a form of cosmetic dentistry, so will not be covered by your individual dental plan.
If you are missing one or more teeth, talk to your dentist about replacing them. Depending on your situation, one or a combination of the above treatments could work for you.