Dental implants are a reliable and long-lasting solution for people who want a permanent solution to missing teeth. However, there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all; what works for one person may not work for another. So before deciding on dental implants, ask your dentist or periodontist – whether they’re specialists in replacing teeth and what alternatives to implants might be good for you.
Dental implants work best for replacing missing teeth, but other options can be better for some people. For example, dental bridges, partial dentures and dental implant-supported restorations can restore your smile without permanent fixtures in your mouth.
Dental bridges: Bridges can fix multiple missing teeth and replace removable dentures with fixed dental appliances that look and feel like natural teeth. Dental implants can offer increased stability, but dental bridges can be an option if you have healthy gums and good bone structure.
A bridge has one or more replacement teeth attached to two crowns each. The false tooth may be made from metal, porcelain or ceramic material. Dental bridges are cemented into place with tiny dental posts that take the bite while the crowns stay in place, fused to your adjacent teeth. You can replace your missing teeth with dental implants in the future if you decide that’s what you prefer.
Healthy, natural-looking partial dentures: Partial dentures are removable appliances that can replace several teeth at once or just a few missing ones. They’re made from the same materials as dental bridges and rest over your gums. Partial dentures can be an excellent option to replace your natural teeth if you have minimal tooth loss, healthy gums and good bone structure. You may even be able to use dental implants instead of partial dentures if you wish at some point in the future.
Implant-supported restorations: If you have one or two teeth missing, their prosthetic replacement can be supported by dental implants. Dental implant-supported crowns look and feel just like your natural teeth, so no one will ever know the difference. These are good alternatives to implants if you don’t want to replace everything at once and have removable appliances that feel natural.
Invisible braces: When you have a smile that needs correcting, invisible dental braces do the trick without being seen at all. These are alternative options to implants if you want a new smile but find the process too long and imprecise with implants. They may even be a good option if your teeth have shifted, but you don’t require tooth replacement.
If you’re considering dental implants, ask your dentist about what’s best for you. Your dentist will check your mouth and tell if you are a candidate for dental implants. If not, they will suggest alternatives that may work the best for you. Remember that though all the procedures mentioned above are for replacing your missing tooth or teeth, they all are priced differently. Therefore, it would help to discuss the pricing with your dentist in advance to understand which treatments fit your budget.