Our dental practice, in London, prides itself on offering a range of options and alternatives to any possible treatment plan. In this article, we explore some of the best alternatives to conventional dental implants.
Our six best alternatives to conventional implants are:
- Same-day teeth
- Mini implants
- Conventional dental bridge
- Adhesive dental bridge
- Partial denture
- Do nothing at all!
Conventional dental implants will usually require the following number of implants:
- a single missing tooth requires 1 dental implant
- 2 missing teeth can be replaced with 1 dental implant
- 3 to 5 missing teeth in a row would require 2 dental implants
- 5 or more missing teeth in a row will probably require 3-6 implants
So you see, there’s not a direct comparison between the number of teeth missing and the number of implants, and therefore the cost.
The traditional implant procedure is:
- Have the dental implant placed.
- Wait 3 to 6 months for the implant to integrate into the bone.
- Have a dental implant restored with a dental crown/bridge/denture.
There are, however, alternatives to the above.
As the name suggests, same-day teeth are a technique whereby your existing teeth/tooth are/is removed and a dental implant is placed in the socket immediately. This is what is known as immediate placement.
This immediately placed implant gains primary stability through a threading mechanism on the outside of the implant, this ensures primary stability is there whilst secondary stability is gained via osseo integration.
Because there is this primary stability, it’s possible to place a loading onto the implant immediately and restore it with a dental bridge/denture.
The normal procedure would be to replace several missing teeth with up to six implants using this technique, this spreads the load evenly over six implants making success more likely.
Mini implants are much smaller than regular implants, as the name implies. This makes them quicker and easier to place as well as often being cheaper. They are more comfortable than conventional implants, but because they are not so big, it’s not possible to load implants in the same way.
You therefore may need either more mini implants placed or have to have fewer teeth restored if mini implants are used.
Conventional Dental Bridge
A conventional dental bridge replaces a missing tooth or teeth by preparing healthy standing teeth at each end of the gap. These teeth are reduced in order to accept supporting teeth which hold the replacement tooth in place.
Dental bridges tend to be viewed as more destructive than dental implants as teeth on either side of the gap need to be trimmed down, this is the reason dentists usually prefer to use implants to replace the missing tooth.
Adhesive dental bridges
An adhesive dental bridge has the missing tooth in the middle supported by wings on either side which are bonded onto the tongue side of the healthy teeth on either side. This has the advantage of maintaining the natural teeth on either side of the gap without having to reduce them very much, as in dental bridges. However, adhesive bridges have a tendency to debond, come loose and fall out more often. They are easy for the dentist to replace but this can become time-consuming for both the dentist and patient as well as inconvenient. Visit our treatment page for more information on dental crowns and bridges London.
Partial dentures London can often be the cheapest solution to replace missing teeth. The biggest problem is that they are removable, many patients don’t like the idea of taking teeth out at night. Partial dentures also need to be well maintained, your gums will move over time which will mean the dentures will not fit as well as they did when they were first made. You need to ensure you continue to go to the dentist to ensure that your partial dentures are looked after as time goes by.
Do nothing at all!
The most obvious alternative to conventional dental implants is to do absolutely nothing at all and in many situations, this is a valid alternative. No one wants to have the unnecessary treatment and you may find you can live perfectly well by not replacing the missing tooth at all.
However, your teeth are in fine balance with one another and you may find that the opposing teeth over-erupt and the adjacent teeth begin to tip into the space.
This can mean compromising your overall bite, which will only get worse in time. This is the main reason that nothing is done at all and that dental implants are usually selected as the treatment of choice if possible.
Why are dental implants so popular?
The growing demand for dental implants is likely due to the significant benefits of undergoing this treatment. While there weren’t many long-term options for replacing missing teeth in the past, modern dental implants provide a more cost-effective solution than dentures.
Dental implants have a high success rate because they’re biocompatible, meaning they integrate fully into your jawbone, which grows around them. Not only do they look natural and feel comfortable, but they function completely as a normal tooth would.
Moving naturally with your jaw when you chew, bite, and talk, dental implants allow you to perform these activities without a second thought while stimulating your jawbone to help prevent bone loss. When you don’t have to be self-conscious about missing teeth or worried about dentures falling out, you can speak, smile, laugh, and eat with confidence.
Dental implants can also improve your appearance, which can give you a further self-esteem boost. Many people with missing teeth experience a ‘sunken-in’ look to their facial features, but dental implants can help to restore jawbone structure to look more like it did before the tooth loss.
The best part is that when you look after your dental implants as well as you would care for your natural teeth, they can last for decades, making them well worth the upfront investment.
Why might I need dental implants?
Dental implants are an ever-more common treatment for tooth loss. There are many reasons that people may lose teeth throughout their lives, but the gap that a missing tooth leaves and a lack of exercising the jaw in that area can cause other teeth to gradually shift, affecting your bite and your ability to chew properly.
If you have a cracked or infected tooth that needs to be removed, this can not only be painful for you, but it can also lead to more severe problems if left untreated. Tooth decay can spread to the gums and jawbone, causing your jaw to deteriorate from bone loss.
The further this progresses, and the more teeth you lose, the more likely you are to develop a ‘caved-in’ facial appearance and experience difficulties with eating and speaking. This can have a negative impact on your confidence and quality of life.
If the experiences described above sound familiar to you, then you would probably benefit from dental implants. Even if the condition of your tooth and/or jawbone loss isn’t too severe yet, it’s best to get ahead of potential further deterioration with restorative dental work.
Similarly, if you’ve been recommended dentures but the thought doesn’t appeal, it’s worth investigating the possibility of dental implants. To find out whether you’re eligible for dental implants in London, you can contact The Dental Centre and arrange a consultation.