Dental implants aren’t for everyone. There are alternatives to dental implants for people who either cannot tolerate the surgery, have insufficient bone tissue to support the implants or who simply do not want to go through the surgery.
These solutions have been utilized for a very long time and can provide excellent results.
There are several different types of bridges that a dentist can use to replace more than one missing tooth. One of the most common is called a tooth supported fixed bridge. This particular solution will be familiar to most anyone. In order to install this type of bridge, the dentist has to grind down the healthy teeth that are located nearby the teeth that are to be replaced. A significant disadvantage of this option is that it does not stimulate the bone underneath the teeth the way and implant does, and that can result in bone loss.
Resin bonded bridges are used on teeth that aren’t used as heavily as molars. It doesn’t require that the adjacent teeth be ground down. It’s better than a denture, but not as sturdy as a fixed bridge.
Dentures are also possible solutions to missing teeth. Partial dentures are not at all expensive, but the aesthetic results are far less convincing than bridges and certainly nowhere near the aesthetic level of implants. The functionality is also compromised.
Complete dentures are used in situations where a patient needs to have all of the teeth on the top or the bottom of their mouth removed. Complete dentures are notoriously difficult to deal with. They make speech difficult for some patients, they oftentimes don’t give adequate aesthetic results and they slip and make it difficult to eat certain types of food.
Overall, any of these solutions are viable alternatives to dental implants, but none of them offer the same type of results that patients get out of dental implants. Bridges can sometimes promote tooth decay, particularly when the cement used on resin bonded bridges gets washed away. They also tend to be rather weak compared to an implant. Between implants and dentures, there’s really no comparison. Dentures can fill in spaces where teeth are missing, but they provide none of the health benefits that come with getting implants.
If you’re not ready for implants, any of these solutions can work, but dental implants are by far the best solution to missing teeth.