Alternatives to Tooth Implants

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Alternatives to Tooth Implants
Alternatives to Tooth Implants (Image: Bernard Bill5/Wikimedia Commons)

Tooth implants are a popular way to replace missing teeth. They have a high success rate and offer a permanent solution for gaps caused by missing teeth. Implants can sometimes be unsuccessful, and people with certain risk factors, such as smoking, have a higher failure rate. There are several other options for tooth replacement.

Purpose

According to dentalhealthsite.com, when you are missing one or more teeth you may have difficultly eating and speaking. If the missing teeth are in front, the gaps may be cosmetically unappealing. The teeth around the space may shift and even loosen, causing more dental problems. Tooth implants and alternate replacement methods eliminate these problems.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are commonly used to replace missing teeth for people who do not want to get a tooth implant. According to dentalhealthsite.com, the two most widely used types are the Maryland bridge (also known as a resin-bonded bridge) and the traditional bridge. A Maryland bridge causes less damage to the teeth adjoining the gap, but it is less cosmetically appealing than a bridge. The false tooth is attached to the other teeth by a metal band, which is visible in the mouth. If the bridge is going in a prominent area, or if the surrounding teeth have deep cavities or other problems, a traditional bridge will be used and the surrounding teeth with be capped. This gives a very natural look.

Cantilever Bridges

If you are missing a tooth in an area where there is only one tooth next to the gap, a cantilever bridge is the most common alternative to a tooth implant. This type of bridge can be attached to only one anchor tooth. However, they are not used in high stress areas because they don't have as much support as a regular bridge.

Immediate Dentures

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), immediate dentures are a good alternative for people who do not want to take the time to go through the lengthy tooth implant process. An immediate denture can be placed as soon as teeth are removed. This requires a prior visit during which the dentist makes models and takes measurements. The immediate denture will then be ready when the patient returns to have the teeth pulled. Bone and gums can change and shrink in the six months following tooth removal, so the immediate denture may need to be adjusted or replaced after the healing period is complete.

Conventional Dentures

Conventional dentures can be made at any time as an alternative to tooth implants. The size of the denture will depend on how many teeth are missing. If there are some natural teeth, a removable partial denture can be placed over them. A full denture can be made for people who are missing most or all of their teeth.

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