Over 50% of adults do not have a full set of natural teeth. Caused by injury, poor oral hygiene, or aging, tooth loss is a common problem a majority of individuals will eventually face.
When exploring options for tooth replacement, it is inevitable that individuals come across dental implants as a potential fix. Unfortunately, for many, dental implants are simply not the right choice.
Not only do implants require invasive oral surgery, they can be cost prohibitive when several are needed and take many months to fully heath. Furthermore, for older individuals who suffer from bone loss, the jaw material which connects to the implant is severely compromised, thus precluding them from the procedure.
For this reason, the field of dentistry has developed several solutions for missing teeth whether the concern is purely cosmetic or structural. Keep reading for an overview on options on everything from one or two replacement teeth to an entirely new smile.
Background: What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a way in which false teeth are permanently affixed into an individual’s mouth. This is done by drilling a titanium rod into the jaw bone, waiting for the bone and rod to bind, then attaching to the protruding rod a false tooth.
This traditional dental procedure is a popular tooth replacement option as it allows for secure and natural looking replacement. Unfortunately, there are many factors that can preclude certain individuals from having the surgery.
For one, between the initial surgery to place the implant support and its fusion with the surrounding bone, there may be up to a 6 month healing time. During this time, the individual will have gaps in their teeth with the implant rod showing.
Furthermore, the surgery itself can be cost prohibitive for some– especially if you are planning to have several teeth removed.
If you are unable to undergo implants, several alternatives exist. Below, listed from least to most invasive, are 4 popular procedures to put you back on track to healthy teeth.
A traditional dental bridge uses the existing adjacent teeth as supports for a false tooth positioned in the middle. This is done by placing a crown over each adjacent tooth and bonding them to the replacement tooth in the center. For this reason, these types of bridges are also known as a “fixed bridge.”
Maryland Bonded Bridge
Unlike a fixed bridge, the Maryland Bonded Bridge does not require the use of crowns. Here, a false tooth is held in place by wing-like structures on the back of the tooth which is then bonded to the backs of a natural tooth on either side.
Dentures come in two main varieties: removable partial dentures and complete dentures.
In the case of complete dentures, a mold is made of your gum structure and the dentures are made to fit. In the case of partial dentures, the teeth are held in place by brackets that hook onto existing teeth.
While Mini Implants (MDIs) are technically a type of dental implant, they are far less invasive than their larger counterparts. In this procedure, the metal rod used to hold the implant in place is far narrower, making for faster healing times and more flexibility for individuals suffering from bone loss.
Mini implants are most commonly used to hold a full set of dentures in place, adding additional comfort and support.
Local and Reliable Dental Care
While this article may be a good introduction to the different options available to you, nothing replaces the advice and care of an experienced dentist. Through years of experience and training, a dental professional can assess which implant alternative will have the best long-term outcome for both your oral health and your quality of life.
East Valley Dental is a family owned dental office located in Mesa Arizona. Established in the 1980s, we take great pride in having clients receive the best dental care and the best service.
If you are in Mesa, AZ, and are considering dental bonding or dental veneers, or are still not sure which procedure is best for you, contact EVDP to schedule an appointment or consultation. Find out more about dental bonding and veneers and let us help you improve your natural and health smile.