Dental Implant Alternatives

created by Rohan, Dental-Pedia Staff Writer

Dental implants are widely considered the best tooth-replacement option. That’s because dental implants replace the root structures of the missing teeth instead of just the visible crown. As such, dental implants look, feel, and function like your natural teeth, eventually becoming a firmly-rooted part of your dental anatomy. Dental implants also preserve the underlying jawbone, prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting, provide a lifelong replacement, and various other benefits.

However, in some cases, dental implants might not be a suitable option for teeth replacement. Perhaps you’re not a suitable candidate for dental implants, or perhaps you don’t want to undergo surgery and the associated expenses. Whatever the reason might be, you can consider various alternatives for dental implants, such as tooth-supported fixed bridges, removable partial dentures, and removable complete dentures.



Option 1: Dental Bridges

Dental Implant Alternative: A tooth-supported dental bridge

A tooth-supported dental bridge is a series of two or more fake teeth supported on both sides by crowns. The “pontics” are the fake teeth in the center of the bridge, and the “connectors” are the crowns on either side of the bridge. The crowns have to be attached to the abutment teeth, i.e., the healthy teeth on either side of the missing teeth. As such, if you’re missing two teeth, the dental bridge will include two pontics and two connector crowns.

Dental bridges are fixed in place via the crowns and the abutment teeth. The surrounding teeth have to be filed down to a stub to accommodate the connector crowns. Once the bridge is in place, it looks and functions like natural teeth, especially if it’s prepared according to the shape and shade of your natural teeth. However, patients are often hesitant about getting an implant because it involves manipulating healthy teeth.

Benefits of Dental Bridges

  • Bridges don’t involve major surgery.

  • Can replace multiple missing teeth in a single series.

  • A fixed and permanent solution to the loss of teeth.

  • No risk of the bridge slipping out during conversations.

  • Don’t have to be removed before meals.

  • The recovery process is short and simple.

Drawbacks of Dental Bridges

  • The healthy teeth next to the missing teeth have to be filed down.

  • The surrounding teeth will always require crowns for the rest of your life.

  • Cleaning is more complex because food accumulates under the bridge.

  • The jawbone under the pontics gradually disintegrates because they’re not activated.

  • Bridges can’t prevent the loss of jawbone or the subsequent facial sagging.

  • Reduces your chance of getting implants later.

Option 2: Removable Partial Dentures


Dental Implant Alternative: Removable Partial Dentures

 

Partial dentures are suitable for patients with multiple missing teeth in different parts, i.e., the missing teeth aren’t in a single series. A partial denture is a series of fake teeth attached to a plastic gum-colored base. The position of the fake teeth is carefully designed to match the positions of your missing teeth. You have to wear the partial denture, using the metal clasps to fasten it to the surrounding teeth. The fake teeth take up the missing spots.

Partial dentures are removable, which means you can take them on and off whenever you want. You have to take your dentures off while sleeping, brushing, and in other moments. Some even prefer taking their dentures off during meals, but that’s not necessary. The primary drawback with partial dentures is their lack of stability — they don’t feel or look realistic, and you’re constantly aware that you’re wearing removable dentures. They also require frequent repairs.

Benefits of Partial Dentures

  • Don’t involve complex surgeries.

  • Don’t involve extended recovery periods or downtime.

  • The surrounding teeth don’t have to be filed down or manipulated.

  • Extremely conservative and simple tooth replacement option.

Drawbacks of Partial Dentures

  • Don’t feel comfortable.

  • They look and feel fake.

  • Require extra maintenance with special cleaning tools.

  • Reduces your chances of getting implants later.

  • Unstable and shaky.

  • Can lead to embarrassing situations.

  • Don’t support the underlying jawbones, leading to the loss of bone.

  • Often come off during meals or while speaking

Option 3: Removable Complete Dentures

Dental Implant Alternative: Removable Complete Dentures

Complete dentures are suitable for edentulous patients, i.e., those missing all their teeth on one or both jaws. A complete denture is a complete arch of fake teeth supported by a gum-colored base that matches the color of your gums. The complete denture is attached to your gums, thereby providing the external appearance of complete teeth. You can take them on and off whenever you want, but that also means they’re not very stable. Complete dentures look and feel fake.

Benefits of Complete Dentures

  • Don’t involve complex surgeries.

  • Don’t involve extended recovery periods or downtime.

  • Extremely conservative and simple tooth replacement option.

Drawbacks of Complete Dentures

  • Don’t feel comfortable.

  • They look and feel fake.

  • Often come off during meals or while speaking.

  • Don’t support the underlying jawbones, leading to the loss of bone.

  • Unstable and shaky.

  • Can lead to embarrassing situations.

  • Require extra maintenance with special cleaning tools.

  • Reduces your chances of getting implants later.

Dental Implants: The Best Tooth Replacement Option

Dental Implants: The Best Tooth Replacement Option

Dental implants are widely considered the best replacement option because they replace the underlying root structure of the missing teeth. The implant is drilled into the jawbone, and it eventually becomes a part of the dental anatomy via a process called osseointegration. Once it becomes a part of your anatomy, the prosthetic can be attached to the implant. You can even attach bridges or dentures to the implant, combining their unique advantages. The only problem with dental implants is that they involve surgeries with long recovery periods.

Benefits of Dental Implants

  • Look and feel completely natural.

  • Indistinguishable from natural teeth.

  • Maintenance is no different from natural teeth.

  • Provide lifetime replacement.

  • Preserves the underlying jawbone structure.

  • Preserves your facial structure and prevents sagging.

  • Keeps the surrounding teeth stable and aligned.

  • Lowers the risk of gum disease.

  • Works with various prosthetic options, including crowns, bridges, and dentures.

Drawbacks of Dental Implants

  • More expensive than most other restoration options.

  • Involves a complex surgery.

  • Involves an extended recovery period.

  • Titanium implants also carry the risk of allergies.

  • Some patients may need bone grafting before being suitable for implants.


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Dental implants: Everything You Need to Know
by Dental-Pedia

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