How Many Teeth Can Implants Replace?

If you’re in the process of researching your options for replacing missing teeth, you’ve probably heard about dental implants. While some dental prosthetics replace only the visible portion of the tooth that emerges from the gums, dental implants are unique in that they replace the roots of missing natural teeth, providing precise and sturdy force when biting and chewing and stimulating the growth of healthy bone tissue in the jaw. In some cases a dental implant is used to support a single artificial tooth, or dental crown, replicating the one-to-one arrangement of a natural tooth and its root. While this type of dental implant restoration is the most lifelike and durable, it can also be prohibitively expensive, especially if your goal is to replace more than one missing tooth. The good news is that many patients can replace multiple missing teeth with a dental prosthetic, like an implant-supported bridge, that relies on as few as two dental implants to replace three or four teeth in a row. It may even be an option to replace an entire row of missing teeth with as few as four dental implants, and the first step to answering your questions about how many of your missing teeth you can replace with implants is to meet with your dentist for a consultation. With good planning and strategic execution, dental implants could be an ideal dental restoration option for you.

In addition to replacing a single missing tooth with a dental implant, a single dental implant might be used to replace two adjacent teeth, using a cantilevered design that includes an implant-supported crown attached to a second artificial tooth. When a patient is missing three or more teeth in a row, an implant dentist can place a dental implant at each end of the space created by the missing teeth. Once these implants heal, they are used to support individual dental crowns that, in turn, support a row of as many as three artificial teeth, allowing two dental implants to replace as many as five missing teeth in a row.

If all of your upper or lower teeth are missing, you may be able to replace an entire arch of teeth with as few as four dental implants. In this specialized dental implant procedure, known as All-On-4, the implants are placed in strategic locations within the jaw, with two implants in the front of the mouth and two in the back, utilizing areas of bone where the tissue is naturally thick and strong. This strategic placement provides sturdy, stable support for the dental restoration that is placed onto the implants after they’ve healed, and it limits the invasiveness of the surgical procedure, which many patients prefer. In cases where patients aren’t good candidates for All-On-4 implants, dentists might use six or more dental implants throughout the jawbone to support the dental replacement arch.

Regardless of how many teeth you’re missing, dental implants could be an optimal solution for your dental restoration needs. If you lack sufficient healthy bone for even strategically placed implants, your dentist may recommend bone grafts or other tissue regeneration therapies to build the bone up before implants are placed. Additionally, if you have existing tooth decay or gum disease, your dentist will address this and any other adverse health conditions that could compromise the integrity and efficacy of dental implants. While dental implants take time to heal, with the proper care, implant-supported bridges and other implant restorations can provide a lifetime of comfortable, confident eating, speaking, and smiling, and a visit to your dentist could be your first step toward the increased quality of life implants can provide.

How Long Does an Implant Supported Bridge Last?