Non-Implant Options and Alternative Techniques for Dental Implants

Alternative Techniques for Dental Implants

52% of adults aged 20-64 did not have a full set of permanent teeth according to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted in 2011-2012. People of all ages and walks of life suffer tooth loss from poor oral health, injury and disease.  Diabetes, smoking and drinking alcohol can all increase your chances of tooth loss.  Regardless of what causes the tooth loss it is important to address its replacement by consulting with a professional.  Many dentists will recommend a dental implant to replace a lost tooth.  A dental implant is an artificial root that can be placed in or on the bone and is used to hold a false or prosthetic tooth in place.  While this may be a good option it is definitely not your only one.  There are many frequently asked questions about dental implants that you should get answered prior to moving forward with this procedure.  There are also alternative techniques for dental implants to be considered.

Mini-implants

Mini-implants are very similar to traditional implants, but smaller.  They can be used in many situations and can be a better solution in some instances than traditional implants.  For example, if you do not have enough bone available for a traditional implant a mini implant might be a viable solution.  Because of the smaller size, mini-implants do not require as much bone to be effective.  Also, the procedure for a mini implant is much less invasive giving you a much faster recovery time.  This procedure can often be done in one visit and you can return to regular activities in a just a few days.

Dental bridge

A bridge is literally used to bridge two teeth to support a false tooth.  The two teeth that are adjacent to the missing tooth are called abutment teeth.  They are prepped for a bridge and used to support a false tooth.  These teeth must have the enamel stripped away and are fitted with crowns.  The teeth with the crowns are then responsible for securing the false tooth that replaces the missing one.  A dental bridge can be used with a traditional false tooth, but it can also be used to help support a dental implant.  The decision as to which is best for you should be made after a thorough consultation with your dentist.

Removable dentures

Removable dentures are a good option for patients that cannot afford the dental bridge procedure or do not have the necessary tooth or bone structure to support a bridge.  They consist of false teeth attached to a pink colored plastic base.  They will generally have a framework of some sort that clasps and connects to your existing teeth.  The connectors can vary with some being metal while others are designed to fit to your teeth with a more natural and aesthetically pleasing look.

There are multiples types of dentures to choose from.  Depending on the number of teeth you have lost you many need partial or complete dentures.  A full set of dentures is used when a person is missing all of their top or bottom teeth, while partials are used to take the place of one or several missing teeth.  After the loss of a tooth or teeth, you may need to wait for several weeks to get dentures.  After the tooth loss the empty socket will fill with gum and bone and change shape.  You may need to wait for the process to be completed before getting fitted for your dentures to ensure they are the correct shape and size.

Maryland bonded bridge

If you are looking for a more permanent solution than dentures but need a different adhesion method a Maryland bonded bridge is an option for you.  This type of bridge does not use crowns to anchor a prosthetic.  Instead, a false tooth is held in place by wings that attach to the adjacent teeth.  The wings are attached using a strong resin.  Because the Maryland bonded bridge relies on adjacent teeth it is not possible to use this strategy for replacing more than one or two missing teeth.  This procedure will usually require two visits to the dentist.  The first visit will be needed to prepare the anchor teeth and make a mold of the area.  The mold will be used to make a custom bridge and a second visit will be needed to install the bridge.

This dental procedure has made a lot of progress over the years making it a more viable option.  When the Maryland bonded bridge was used 20 years ago it often created aesthetic issues due to the wings being made of metal which was unsightly and could cause discoloration to the teeth.  Now, however, a resin material is used to attach the bridge to the natural teeth avoiding the metal material altogether and eliminating those issues.

Consult with your dentist

If you are considering getting dental implants in Mesa, AZ, please call us.  Your specific situation will help dictate which solution is best for you.  The placement of the lost tooth, number of teeth and remaining bone and gum structure will all help guide your dentist towards making the best recommendation.  It is important to consider all your options, including alternative techniques to dental implants.  If you have suffered a lost tooth or teeth, we can help.  East Valley Dental Professionals has the team and experience to repair or replace your lost teeth using extensive knowledge of all the above procedures.  We welcome the opportunity to listen to your concerns and walk you through the process of restoring your smile every step of the way.