Dental Implant Alternatives

While dental implants are an appealing restorative dentistry treatment for patients who are missing teeth, they are not for everyone. Patients may be unable to receive dental implants for a variety of reasons, including if they do not have enough bone to support implants. In other cases, patients may simply want to avoid the lengthy dental implants procedure.

Fortunately, there are a number of dental implant alternatives that patients can turn to. These treatment options restore both the health and appearance of the smile. A qualified dentist can help you determine what course of treatment is right for you. In the meantime, learn more about some of the available tooth replacement options.

dentures
Traditional removable dentures are an affordable alternative to implant-supported dentures.

Full Dentures

Dentures are a removable restorative dentistry option for people who have lost nearly all of their natural teeth. Dentures are typically made of a strong plastic material, although some more expensive versions are made of porcelain. The artificial teeth are attached to a support piece to increase comfort in the mouth. Dentures can be removed by the patient to be cleaned, and may also be taken out before going to bed.

Benefits

  • Effectively replace all of the teeth and improve patient appearance 
  • Preserve facial structures 
  • Can improve speech over time 
  • Prevent infection and jaw misalignment 

Disadvantages

  • Can cause sores or discomfort 
  • Are not permanently fixed in the mouth 
  • Enjoying certain foods can become difficult 

Partial Dentures

For people who have lost several, but not all, of their natural teeth, removable partial dentures are a good dental implant alternative. These dental implant alternatives are composed of a plastic base to which the artificial teeth are attached, and metal clasps are affixed to the surrounding natural teeth.

Benefits

  • Safe way to replace missing teeth 
  • Prevent further tooth decay and gum infection 
  • Make talking and chewing more comfortable 

Disadvantages

  • Are not permanently fixed in the mouth 
  • Can cause sores or discomfort 

Dental Bridges

Bridges, sometimes called fixed partial dentures, are artificial teeth that are supported by crowns and attached to the natural teeth on either side of a gap. They are made of strong and durable porcelain, and are crafted to complement the size, shape, and color of surrounding natural teeth. Because bridges are custom made for each patient, they will fit securely and comfortably in the mouth.

Benefits

  • Increased stability over dentures 
  • Prevent jaw disorders or tooth and gum decay 
  • Can last up to 10 years 
  • Improve appearance of smile and preserve facial structure 

Disadvantages

  • Can only be used to replace a few teeth 
  • Other natural teeth may need to be removed or altered to make room for the bridge 
  • Can add pressure to surrounding natural teeth 
Photo: Kelly Hong, DDS

“Teeth in a Day”

Traditional dental implant surgery and the period of osseointegration that follows (the time during which the gums heal around the posts) generally require five month to two years. However, a new procedure enables patients to literally have “Teeth in a Day.” This innovative procedure uses computer-guided technology to determine the best placement of implants, and accurately insert posts within one hour. This procedure also drastically decreases the procedure recovery period, and most patients can even eat comfortably the same day.

Teeth in a day can restore your smile in a single visit.

Benefits

  • Fast, safe method for replacing teeth 
  • More stable than dentures or bridges 
  • Reduced recovery time 
  • Preserves facial structures and health of the mouth 
  • Prevents bone deterioration or jaw shifting 

Disadvantages

  • Not suitable for all implant candidates 
  • Typically more expensive than other treatment options

Many patients find that dental implants are the best option for their needs.

Find a Dentist

Are all dental implants the same?

There are several types of dental implants available. The most common dental implant is a root-form titanium implant, however the type of dental implant used will vary based on the condition of the individual patient's mouth, specifically where the implants are being placed. Find a dentist in your area to learn more about the dental implant procedure and the type of implant that is right for you.

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