Dental Implant Alternatives: Know Your Options
Do you need to have one or more teeth replaced? Most dentists recommend dental implants because they are the best option for most patients from a dental health standpoint. But not every patient is an ideal candidate for dental implants. If you have bone loss in the jaw due to teeth that have been missing for a while, bone health issues, severe decay in the majority of your teeth, or a limited budget, dental implants may not be the right option for you. In some cases you may simply want to reduce the number of dental implants you get to make replacement more affordable.
The good news is that there are alternatives to dental implants that are also very effective and more affordable. Here are some of the possible options for tooth replacement.
A dental bridge is an artificial tooth or row of teeth that are suspended between two crowns. There are a few different types of bridges, including:
- Traditional dental bridge. With this type of bridge an artificial tooth is suspended between two crowns that fit over the existing healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. A traditional bridge can be used to replace a row of missing teeth as well.
- Cantilever bridge. A cantilever bridge is supported by a crown on just one side of the missing tooth. This is most often used to replace a terminal molar in the back where there is no tooth on the other side. A cantilever bridge is not as secure as other types, so it is only used when there is no other option.
- Implant supported bridge. When a few teeth are missing in a row, an implant supported bridge may be used. For this method, two dental implants are placed on either end of the row of missing teeth with a bridge suspended between them.
- Maryland bridge. A Maryland bridge uses a combination of metal and dental cement to attach a bridge to the existing teeth. It is not as strong as the other types of bridges because it doesn’t use a crown.
When the majority of the teeth in either the upper or lower jaw are decayed or missing, dentures are often the most affordable option. There are two basic types of dentures:
- Traditional dentures. Traditional dentures attach to the gums via suction or denture adhesives. Patients have relatively good success with traditional dentures, but they do have a tendency to slip out of place and food can get stuck underneath them. Another disadvantage is that the jaw bone weakens without the presence of tooth roots.
- Implant supported dentures. Sometimes called snap-on dentures, implant supported dentures are held in place by a few dental implants placed in the jaw. The benefits of implant supported dentures is that they are more secure, and the dental implants preserve the strength and density of the jaw bone.
- Partial dentures. When there are at least a few healthy teeth left in the jaw, those teeth can be used to anchor a partial denture. A partial denture is a row of teeth like a bridge, but it is typically a larger prosthetic that includes more artificial teeth than a bridge.
Choosing the Best Option for You
Deciding on a tooth replacement option doesn’t have to be difficult. Typically the best option is obvious due to your specific dental needs. Your dentist will make a recommendation for your treatment that will be in your best interest. Discuss your preferences and priorities with your dentist and together you can choose the best tooth replacement option.
Blossom Dentistry Provides a Range of Tooth Replacement Options
If you need one or more teeth replaced, see a dentist who offers a wide range of options. Blossom Dentistry provides dental implants, bridges, and dentures so that patients have choices. We will help you choose the tooth replacement option that will be the most successful for you, taking your needs into consideration from budget to lifestyle.
Call (202) 922-2900 today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to restoring your smile.