Dental implants are often successful and long-lasting treatments for patients facing tooth loss and are one of the most advanced techniques used in dentistry today. This method involves drilling anchors into the bone of the jaw and then placing artificial crowns over the top. Though it may sound daunting, this treatment tends to be strong, reliable and cost-effective, and is the desired option for many patients. However, this is not to say it is suitable for everyone, which is why there are many more efficient and advanced methods of replacing missing teeth. Whether a patient cannot afford this treatment, or the quality of their jawbone will not support it, alternative methods can be recommended by dentists if they feel they would suit the patient more. Luckily, there are many other, and sometimes more appropriate alternatives to dental implants, some of which may be more cost-effective, quick to fit or more comfortable.
If you have some remaining teeth, partial dentures can be a good alternative for various reasons. They are removable tools to replace missing teeth and can sometimes be a cheaper or more appropriate option for certain patients. The clips, which are known as ‘clasps’ are placed around the teeth to help secure dentures in place, stabilising the teeth when eating, to minimise movement. However, this method would not be appropriate for patients with a full set of missing teeth.
Also known as a Maryland bridge, resin-bonded bridges are usually recommended for replacing teeth at the front of the mouth. They consist of strong wings that slot on to the inner surfaces of the teeth that are adjacent to the gap. The wings are then attached to the artificial tooth or pontic, making it an often cheaper and quicker substitute to dental implants. Resin-bonded bridges tend to last as long as implants, but can be used as a temporary solution if a patient opts for a different treatment.
If you have one or more missing teeth, dental bridges can be used to fill the gap. They are known as abutment teeth and are made up of two or more crowns placed on either side of the gap. The false teeth in between the anchors are called pontics and can be made from various materials including alloys, porcelain, gold or a combination of them all. Dental bridges are supported by implants and natural teeth, so they can be a useful replacement for patients who want a secure set of teeth.
Full dentures are a complete set of artificial teeth that are formed to the shape of your mouth and created by a dentist to replace removed or lost teeth. Unlike partial dentures which are used to replace several missing teeth, full sets are usually more appropriate for patients who have lost all of their teeth and are looking to replace them all. These are secured using suction or oral adhesive and can be easily removed if and when a patient likes.