Although dental implants are the best, longest-lasting options to restoring missing teeth, there are other treatment options available:
Non-Implant Options for Replacing a Single Tooth
A tooth-supported fixed bridge is the most common alternative to dental-implant supported restoration of a single tooth. It has several disadvantages when compared to dental implants. Placement of a tooth-supported bridge involves grinding away – or damaging – healthy, adjacent teeth, which will be attached to, and used to support, the bridge. Natural bone underneath a tooth-supported bridge is not stimulated as it is with dental implants, and may deteriorate over time, ultimately changing the appearance of your smile and face. A tooth-supported bridge also may not last as long as an implant-supported bridge, and it requires more ongoing care and maintenance.
Removable partial dentures don't require grinding down adjacent teeth but are not nearly as stable or comfortable as dental implants and can affect speech and eating. This type of restoration is less expensive but doesn’t look as natural or function as well as an implant-supported ceramic crown.
A resin-bonded bridge (also called Maryland Bridge) is sometimes considered, especially to restore front teeth that don't endure the biting and chewing demands of back teeth. It has wings on each side to attach to healthy, adjacent teeth but usually doesn't involve preparing, or grinding down, other teeth. A resin-bonded bridge looks and functions better than a removable denture but isn't as strong as fixed bridgework and typically doesn’t function or last nearly as long as dental implants.
Non-Implant Option for Replacing Multiple Teeth
A removable partial denture, an alternative to restore multiple teeth, is not nearly as stable as dental-implant restored teeth. The device can interfere with speech and eating. This type of restoration is less expensive but doesn’t look as natural or function as well as implant-supported teeth.
Non-Implant Option for Replacing All Teeth
A removable complete denture, an appliance that sits on top of the gums where the missing teeth were, is a low-cost alternative to dental implant restoration. It can be uncomfortable, affect the ability to experience the full taste of food, cause sore gums, and shift and click in the mouth when one speaks, eats, smiles, yawns or coughs.
Consult with a dental implant expert to find the treatment option for missing teeth that is right for you.