While dental implants are a great option to replace missing teeth, they aren’t the only way to do so. There are different alternatives, each with their own benefits and drawbacks.
If you’re considering dental implants or you’ve decided dental implants aren’t right for you, let’s explore what options might also be available to you.
Before we start talking about alternatives to dental implants, we should cover the reasons why a dental implant might not be the right option for you.
First, not everyone is a candidate for dental implants. If you’re over the age of 60, have had chemotherapy or radiation, or have low bone density in your jawbone you might not be a candidate. Medications, low estrogen levels, gum disease, or poorly controlled diabetes could also mean you’re not a great candidate for dental implants.
Cost is also a main factor when it comes to dental implants. Although dental implants are one of the best ways to replace missing teeth, it is also one of the most expensive. Other options can be thousands and thousands of dollars cheaper, which means they’ll be better alternatives if you don’t have the budget.
Let’s walk through the different kinds of dental implant alternatives and who they might be right for.
A tooth-supported fixed bridge is an incredibly common option. It covers the gap of the missing tooth by placing crowns on the two teeth on either side of the gap. These act as anchor teeth to which the replacement tooth can be fixed.
A fixed bridge is often made with gold, precious metal alloys, or porcelain. It can even be made with a combination of these materials. Porcelain gives the most natural looking appearance.
While this is an alternative to dental implants, it does have some disadvantages. First, the tooth-supported fixed bridge is not self-supporting like a dental implant is. This can damage and put strain on the healthy teeth surrounding the missing gap. In the end, this damage could cause the once healthy teeth to become unhealthy.
If this happens, it can actually become more expensive to fix your problem. Rather than needing one dental implant, you might now be in the market for three.
However, it is a natural looking option that can dramatically improve the appearance of any unhealthy, decayed, or discolored teeth. It is also significantly quicker than dental implants with less recovery time. Finally, the initial bridge is much cheaper than dental implants.
If you’re missing multiple adjacent teeth, a removable partial denture can provide you with replacement options. A removable partial denture locks around your existing teeth or an attached crown or bridge.
This option is not invasive, which is a great option for someone who doesn’t want to go through surgery. However, it definitely isn’t as stable or long-term as a dental implant.
The biggest benefit of a removable partial denture is that it’s an incredibly affordable option that can do a great job at hiding gaps in your teeth. It also improves your ability to talk and eat.
However, it doesn’t support your jaw the same way a dental implant would. If you have bone loss due to the loss of many teeth, you might experience more health problems down the road.
A resin-bonded bridge is a great option if you need to replace front teeth. It uses wings to attach a false tooth to the teeth on either side of them, similar to a tooth-supported fixed bridge. It prevents teeth on either side of the gap from moving out of place.
This is a great alternative to a removable denture because it is more permanent, but it isn't nearly as strong as a fixed bridge or dental implant. In fact, it can break rather easily. If you bite down too hard, you might need to get it replaced.
It also doesn't last as long as other alternatives. In many cases, it's used as a temporary option until you can get a more permanent implant. If you choose the resin-bonded bridge as your permanent solution, you may need to get your bridge redone relatively frequently.
However, cost is a huge benefit. It is also less invasive way to restore your smile and allow you to talk and eat easily.
If you're still not sure about dental implants or you want to discuss other alternatives, your best bet is to talk to your dentist. Your dentist can walk you through the different options and your budget to help you find the tooth replacement method that best fits your unique needs.
If you're in the Los Angeles area, contact Arman Torbati DDS to set up an appointment. The Arman Torbati DDS team would be happy to work with you to help you find the method that works best for you.