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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

What Are Some Alternatives to Dental Implants?

What is Dental implants?

A dental implant is a titanium post (like a tooth root) that is surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath the gum line that allows your dentist to place Dental implants are fixed and do not require support from the adjacent teeth, unlike bridges or dentures.When it comes to replacing your missing teeth, you have a few different options. The most popular nowadays seem to be dental implants. Unfortunately, dental implants have certain requirements that not every patient can meet.

Some of the disadvantages of dental implants are:

1. Dental Implants are Costly

The first and most major disadvantage of dental implants is that they are costly. A full mouth of dental implants from Eastwood Family Dental Centre can cost you tens of thousands of dollars while a single implant can cost a few thousand. Mostly your Dental Insurance won’t cover them.

2. Dental Implants Require a Surgery for Placement

Another major disadvantage of dental implants is that they require surgery to be placed. You might think this is a big deal but surgery is always a health risk. The complication rate is just an average 5 to 10%. The risks and complications you are taking for dental implants include infection, damage to other teeth, delayed bone healing, nerve damage, prolonged bleeding, jaw fractures and more

3. You Might Need to Replace Your Restorations

Although dental implants can last you for life, the restorations that you attach to them may not. Another disadvantage of dental implants is that you may need to replace your restorations down the line which can be quite costly.

Dental crowns and dental bridges are made of porcelain which can typically last you for the rest of your life with proper care. This means that you brush and floss regularly and avoid doing any physical damage to your teeth.

4. Bone Loss Around Your Implants

Another factor that you might want to consider before opting for dental implants is this one major disadvantage. Although dental implants can help you maintain bone mass in your jaw, it is still common to lose bone around your implants. This is from normal bone loss over years. If you lose too much bone, you may need to have your dental implant replaced.

5. Dental Implants Take a Long Time to Heal

If you are looking for instant results for your missing teeth, dental implants aren’t going to be your solution. A major disadvantage of dental implants is that they take a long time to heal. To start, our dentist must first ensure you have enough bone mass in your jaw to have the implants placed in the first place.

If you don’t, you will need a bone graft surgery. If you need any teeth extracted, that will also need to be done in advance. The healing process can take anywhere from 3 to 18 months to heal. If you don’t have patience, dental implants probably aren’t the right dental treatment for you.

6. Dental Implants Have a Chance of Failing

Every patient who receives dental implants risks the chance that their dental implants will fail. If you do choose to have dental implant surgery, it’s important to get them from a highly skilled and trained dentist for smaller fail risks.

You can consider these 4 alternatives of dental implant-

1. Fixed Bridge

Dental implant alternatives

Dental crowns, Credits: pixabay

A fixed bridge that is supported by natural teeth is the most frequently used alternative to an implant-supported restoration, particularly if only a single tooth needs to be restored.

With a fixed bridge, the teeth either side of the gap are crowned. These anchor teeth are also called abutment teeth. The replacement tooth is called a pontic and this is fixed in between the two crowns. Fixed bridges can be made from gold or other precious metal alloys, or from porcelain. Sometimes a fixed bridge is made from a combination of these materials as for example it may have a precious metal alloy substructure that is covered up with porcelain to create a natural looking appearance.

This option has several disadvantages compared to implants. A dental implant is self-supporting, but a tooth-supported bridge’s abutment teeth need to be ground down in preparation for dental crowns. These teeth may be strong and disease-free, and removing healthy tooth structure is not desirable.

Additionally, supporting a replacement tooth places these teeth under stress. Once this healthy tooth structure is removed, there is a greater risk of these abutment teeth eventually becoming decayed and infected.

With a dental implant, the bone surrounding the implant post is stimulated, just as it would be with a normal tooth root. The bone underneath the tooth-supported bridge doesn’t receive this stimulation and will gradually deteriorate and reabsorb. This can affect the appearance of the dental bridge and your smile.

A fixed bridge also requires more maintenance and care compared to a single dental implant and it may not last as long as an implant-supported bridge. All types of tooth restorations need replacing periodically, regardless of whether they are supported by dental implants or natural teeth.

Advantages of a Tooth-Supported Fixed Bridge

The most advanced porcelains closely replicate the shades and translucencies found in natural teeth. If the abutment teeth are already decayed, discolored or oddly shaped, covering them up with a tooth-supported fixed bridge can improve their appearance.

The procedure for a tooth-supported fixed bridge is very straightforward andeconomical,  treatment is typically completed within a couple of weeks, which is significantly quicker than dental implant treatment.

2) Removable Partial Denture

dental implant alternatives

removable partial denture, Credits: foter

A partial denture is a removable dental appliance that can be held in place by the adjacent teeth or with clasps that fit around existing teeth. Some partial dentures have precision attachments, where an attachment on the denture will clip onto an attachment in a crown or bridge.

Partial dentures can be made from acrylic and may be strengthened with a Cobalt chrome base.

This option is less invasive as there is no need for the adjacent teeth to be ground down, but it is nowhere near as stable as implants, which may affect your ability to eat and speak. A partial denture is considerably less expensive, but it will not provide the same aesthetic results or functionality compared to an implant-supported tooth. Bone loss in the jaw can affect the stability of the partial denture, and the adjacent teeth.

Advantages of a Removable Partial Denture

A removable partial denture is the most affordable option and will do a reasonable job at hiding the gap in between your teeth and restoring your ability to smile and talk with confidence.

A well-designed partial denture could help improve your speech, and it’s often possible to add false teeth to this denture if you happen to lose more teeth. The technique to make and fit one is minimally invasive. If it includes clasps or a precision attachment then your dentist may need to adapt these teeth accordingly in order to ensure the clasps fit snugly or that a tooth can be crowned to fit the precision attachment.

3. A removable complete denture

Dental implant alternatives

removable dentures, Credits: pixabay

A removable complete denture is supported by the gums, resting on the area that used to hold your natural teeth. It is a low-cost and non-invasive alternative to dental implant restoration, but complete dentures can often be uncomfortable and unstable.

They are frequently quite large and bulky, particularly upper dentures that cover up the upper palate. This can affect your ability to taste food properly, and your choice of foods will be more limited, as certain foods cannot be chewed properly with dentures.

Dentures do tend to move around slightly during eating, speaking, and even when smiling or yawning. Improving denture retention with denture adhesives only offers a temporary solution. This continual movement can create sore spots on your gums. The pressure created by dentures resting on the gums can accelerate bone loss. Denture wearers often find they will make a clicking sound when they talk.

Advantages of a Removable Complete Denture

A complete denture is a quick and cost-effective way to help boost your self-confidence and to immediately improve appearance. It replaces teeth that may have been missing, worn down or decayed, and a properly designed complete denture will provide the correct amount of support for the muscles in the cheeks and lips.

Theyhelps to maintain your facial structure if you have been missing teeth for many years. Missing teeth can allow the cheeks and lips to collapse inwards, an effect that is immediately aging.

4) Resin-Bonded Bridgeor Maryland bridge

Dental implant alternatives

Crowns, Credits: foter

This type of bridge is only really suitable for replacing front teeth, and where they do not come under excessive stress due to biting and chewing. A Maryland bridge has solid wings whereas a Rochette bridge has holes drilled into the wings. This allows it to stick to the adjacent teeth more easily.

A resin-bonded bridge has wings that fit onto the inner or lingual surfaces of the teeth adjacent to the gap. These wings are then attached to the replacement tooth or pontic. Any preparation of these teeth is usually minimal, but your dentist may need to remove a small amount of tooth enamel in order to help the bridge adhere a little better. It can be made from metal alloy and where the pontic is covered with porcelain, or it can be made from an all-ceramic material such as zirconia.

This type of bridge can be a good alternative to a removable denture but it isn’t as strong as a fixed bridge. If you happen to bite down too hard then teeth might get dislodged and will need to be re-cemented by your dentist.

A resin-bonded bridge will not last nearly as long as implants.

Advantages of a Resin-Bonded Bridge

This type of bridge is cheaper and less invasive than a tooth-supported fixed bridge, where the teeth adjacent to the gap would need to be substantially ground down. It will restore your smile and your ability to speak and eat comfortably and ensures the shape of your face is maintained.

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