While searching for tooth replacement options, you’ll often find yourself coming across dental implants as the best and most common option.
The Necessity of Tooth Replacement
Tooth replacement is a necessary process if you lose one or more teeth due to dental issues or oral trauma. Simply not replacing a tooth is not an option as this can give rise to gum infection, gum recession, and irreversible bone tissue loss in the jawbone.
An empty space on the gum line can cause adjacent teeth to tilt into the space which would misalign your bite, cause chewing problems and loosen the rest of your teeth.
Why You Should Consider Dental Implant Alternatives?
Although dental implants are a durable solution for missing teeth, they might not be suited to everyone.
Dental implants use a titanium alloy that some people might find themselves allergic to. The micro-movements of the crown of the implant leave spaces that can be filled by infection-causing bacteria.
Moreover, installing dental implants is a slow healing process that is not suitable for patients with conditions that slow healing like diabetes. Some medications like those for heartburn and depression can also slow bone tissue growth, so patients taking these medications should consider other alternatives to dental implants.
Alternatives to Dental Implants
Thanks to the advances in dentistry, there are a few options beyond traditional implants that are less invasive and safer for some patients.
Dentures are one of the most common options for tooth replacement, especially in the case of multiple missing teeth. Dentures are a good long-term solution for missing teeth.
It is a non-invasive method in which resin or porcelain false teeth are held in place with an acrylic base. The dentures are held by the suction of the palate of the mouth and are removable. Dentures are a very affordable option to replace missing teeth. You can opt for complete or partial dentures. Partial dentures come with the advantageous ability to add false teeth to the base if more natural teeth need replacing in the future.
However, the procedure would require multiple sessions to create molds of your mouth to make custom-fitted dentures. The removability of dentures makes some people wary of them but there are many options available to hold dentures in their places like metal clasps, wires, and magnets.
2. Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are great alternatives to dental implants and dentures if you’re not a fan of invasive treatments or the inevitable wear of dentures.
In this procedure, a false tooth is placed in the place of the missing one, over the gum line. Since there is no root support embedded in the gum, the false tooth is supported by the adjacent teeth over which a crown is fitted.
Adjacent teeth may need to be filed to fit the crown of the bridge which may cause a risk of nerve damage if the teeth are filed too thin. Maryland bridges eradicate the need for filing as they stay on with resin-bonded metal wings behind the adjacent teeth. The non-invasiveness of the procedure eliminates the need for numbing injections like Novocaine.
However, it is difficult to maintain oral hygiene with dental bridges as the space between the gum and the bridge can facilitate bacterial growth.
3. Zirconia Implants
Zirconia implants are a good choice if you’re looking for holistic alternatives to dental implants. They are made from zirconium oxide, which is ceramic, and are biocompatible.
Zirconia implants are suitable for people with titanium or metal allergies as they don’t release metal ions. They also display better osseointegration than titanium, meaning the healing process is that much faster. The ceramic surface resists plaque buildup and therefore lowers the risk of infection.
Zirconia implants, being tooth-colored and single-piece, are aesthetically preferable, especially for older adults with translucent gums.
4. Dental Flippers
If you are on the fence about which tooth replacement option is the best for you, you can ask your dentist to fit you with a dental flipper in the meantime.
Flippers are temporary partial dentures, made of natural-looking acrylic. They are removable like dentures and can be a great option when you choose a more permanent one if you’re recovering from a tooth extraction.
Flippers are not very costly but they only last around 8 to 12 months.
Good teeth, natural or fake, can help you be confident while eating, speaking, and socializing. Armed with knowledge about your tooth replacement options, you can now confidently talk to your dentist and make an informed choice about your oral health.