Dental implants are widely recognized as one of the best tooth replacement options. Not only do they look and function like real teeth, but they can last a lifetime with the proper care. That said, everyone is different, and implants may not be your first choice.
If you’re missing one or more teeth, it’s important to understand all your options. Here are three popular alternatives to dental implants.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Dental implants are surgically-placed posts that serve as tooth roots. The implant itself, which resembles a small titanium screw, is placed in or above the jawline. Once healed, a replacement tooth (or crown) is fastened, offering unmatched support — just one of the many benefits of dental implants!
Who Is Not a Candidate for Dental Implants?
Tooth replacement using dental implants is attractive to many people because they’re permanent. However, not every patient is suited for them. For example, those with autoimmune diseases, blood disorders, or diabetes aren’t always fit for implant treatment. Smoking and active gum disease might also affect your eligibility.
Patients with low jawbone density may need a sinus lift or bone graft before the implants are placed. As a result, these procedures may add to your treatment length and overall cost.
3 Alternatives to Dental Implants
A bridge is a fixed or removable dental appliance that relies on your natural teeth for support. They’re usually used to replace one or two teeth and require the surrounding teeth to be strong and healthy.
While less durable than dental implants, bridges are more affordable up-front. Plus, there’s no surgery required, and they’ll look and feel similar to your natural teeth.
Overall, dental bridges are the strongest alternative to dental implants. Although, they can only replace adjacent teeth and won’t stabilize the underlying bone.
Dentures are another realistic-looking, removable tooth replacement option. Depending on how many teeth need to be restored, there are a few different types of dentures to choose from, including:
Partial Dentures - Partials are great for patients who have partially lost teeth (2-4) in the upper or lower arch. They consist of a plate with one or more artificial teeth attached and are easier to install than dental implants.
Full Dentures - Full dentures are ideal for those who have lost all or most of their teeth. This type of denture is held in place with dental adhesive and may not be the most secure treatment option compared to implants. You’ll also need to take them out to clean them nightly.
Implant-supported Dentures - As the name implies, implant-supported dentures feature the best parts of dental implants and dentures. However, unlike partials and full dentures, you can only remove them with a dentist.
Dentures can improve chewing and speech, fill out the appearance of the face, and rebuild your smile. Plus, they’re cheaper than a dental bridge! However, they can be bulky and uncomfortable. If they’re not permanent, you’ll also need to clean them daily and remove them while you sleep.
A flipper is a temporary, removable retainer that fastens to the teeth surrounding a gap. It fits along the roof of your mouth or lower jaw and has one or more prosthetic teeth attached to it — similar to a partial denture, but it consists of less durable materials.
Flippers are the cheapest alternative to dental implants besides doing nothing. That said, they can’t be used to replace several teeth and are not a long-term solution.
Are Dental Implants Necessary?
Dental implants aren’t a necessity, but they do come highly recommended!
Whether you’re ineligible or want to avoid the cost of implant treatment, choosing another replacement option is important. Any one of these alternatives is better than nothing, though dental implants are the only solution that will prevent future bone loss and teeth shifting.
Dental Implant Alternatives in Omaha, NE
Are you on the fence about replacement options? Call 402-498-8804 or contact us today to schedule an appointment. Our West Omaha dentists can help walk you through your options and help you pick the best alternative to dental implants.
About the Author: Drs. Sharlene and Robert Wilson offer various general and cosmetic dentistry services in Omaha, NE. They earned their doctorate from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry. With over 30 years of combined experience, both are committed to helping patients achieve beautiful, healthy, and long-lasting smiles. Call 402-498-8804 to schedule an appointment.