Whether it’s due to gum disease, injury, or genetics, many people need a tooth replacement at one point or another. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, over 150 million people are missing at least one tooth, but only 1 million seek treatment every year.
Missing teeth aren’t just visually unappealing – they can create oral health issues that negatively impact your quality of life, from difficulty speaking to challenges with chewing and digesting food.
Historically, dentures have been the most common treatment for missing teeth, but dental implants are becoming a more popular restorative tooth replacement option. These implants are surgically-placed titanium posts that act as artificial tooth roots to which a dentist securely attaches a crown or bridge.
While dentists typically recommend dental implants as the best option for tooth replacement, many people wonder if there are alternatives to dental implants and if an alternative to teeth implants is possible for them. In this post, we’ll break down some of the most common questions about dental implant alternatives, including:
- What are other options besides dental implants?
- What is the best alternative to dental implants?
We’ll also share how to achieve the smile of your dreams with an experienced dentist.
What Are Dental Implants?
Before we look at the best alternative to dental implants, let’s define what implants are.
Dental implants are a type of restorative dentistry treatment that replaces one or more missing teeth. Implants are composed of two main elements: a titanium post (the implant itself) and an abutment, which supports the replacement tooth.
The dental implant procedure typically consists of three steps:
- Surgery: A dentist surgically places the titanium post into the jawbone.
- Healing: After the surgery, the implant and bone must fuse. The healing process can take several weeks to months.
- Restoration: Once the healing is complete, a dentist attaches an abutment to the implant and secures the replacement tooth.
Dental implants are the preferred solution for replacing missing teeth because they offer a secure, permanent solution rather than something temporary, like dentures. However, due to the complexity of the surgical procedure and the cost associated with implants, many people want an alternative to implants for missing teeth.
What Are Other Options Besides Dental Implants?
Dentists can use alternatives to dental implants to address each person’s unique needs. In some cases, they might opt for dentures, bridges, or flippers. Each alternative to teeth implants comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, which your dentist will discuss with you before proceeding.
Dentures are removable, natural-looking false teeth that replace multiple missing teeth. As a substitute for dental implants, dentures offer a less invasive option than a surgically placed implant. Dentures can be full or partial and are typically made of plastic, metal, ceramic, or a combination of these materials.
Dentures can easily be taken out for cleaning and maintenance. Because dentures simply rest on the gum line instead of being secured to them, dentures might slip or cause discomfort in certain situations, like eating or speaking.
Other options for dental implants include bridges, which are composed of two dental crowns placed over the abutment teeth and a false tooth in between. Bridges can replace one or more missing teeth, but they rely on surrounding teeth for support, so bridges might not be an ideal solution for people with multiple missing teeth.
Bridges can come as resin-bonded and implant-supported, offering a semi-permanent solution for anyone who wants to avoid dentures. The advantage of bridges is that they’re relatively easy to install and maintain, with a less invasive procedure than dental implants.
When a patient asks, “Is there an alternative to dental implants?” they’re often surprised to learn about flippers. Flippers work similarly to dentures, except they’re used to replace one missing tooth instead of multiple. A flipper is created from acrylic and used as a temporary solution while the patient awaits treatment.
Flippers can be made quickly and are relatively inexpensive dental implant alternatives, but their short-term nature means that they eventually need to be replaced with more permanent solutions like implants or bridges.
What Procedures Can I Get As A Substitute For Dental Implants?
Asking, “What is the alternative to dental implants?” can lead you to learn about other available procedures you might not be as familiar with. While these procedures might not offer the best alternative to dental implants, they can help address each patient’s unique needs.
Root Canal Therapy
If a tooth is savable, one alternative method to restore a tooth is root canal therapy, which involves removing the dead or dying tissue inside the tooth. After the roots have been cleaned, a dentist places a dental crown to complete the restoration.
This procedure is less expensive than implants and can be completed within two visits. The only downside of this alternative is that it’s not a permanent solution and might still require replacement later on.
Gum Disease Treatments
Another common procedure is gum disease treatment. Gum disease is an infection of the gums caused by plaque and bacteria, leading to receding gums, periodontal pockets, and tooth loss. A dentist or periodontist might recommend a deep cleaning, antibiotics, or laser therapy to treat the underlying gum disease and restore teeth.
Your dentist might offer customized solutions that can be used as alternatives to dental implants. These solutions can include composite bonding, porcelain veneers, or even a full-mouth reconstruction. Your dentist will help you determine the best solution for your needs and discuss other services that might help enhance your oral health.
Learn About Alternatives To Dental Implants At Northside Dental Co.
So, what is the alternative to dental implants? The answer depends on your needs, budget, and dentist’s recommendation. At Northside Dental Co., we have the experience and expertise to help you determine the best alternatives to dental implants for your unique case.
If you’re ready to learn more about dental implant alternatives, contact Northside Dental Co. today! Our team is here to help you explore your options and find the best solution for restoring your smile.