Are there alternatives to dental implants?
Dental implants are the best and most permanent solution for missing teeth but other treatment options are available for patients who do not want, or are not great candidates for dental implants.
For people who have healthy, natural teeth outside of their missing teeth, a tooth-supported bridge can be a viable treatment solution. Tooth-supported bridges are a very popular type of bridge as they have the potential to last a long time and give the ability to chew food as normal. A tooth-supported bridge is built with crowns cemented on to each tooth next to the gap, allowing the gap to be filled with an artificial tooth.
A resin-bonded bridge is similar to a tooth-supported bridge but instead of attaching the prosthesis permanently to the adjacent teeth, the false tooth is bonded to the back of the supporting teeth using resin. A resin-bonded bridge is not a permanent solution and is not as strong as a traditional dental bridge. However, one advantage of this technique is that the supporting teeth do not need to be prepared for crowns, meaning that the patient can have their resin-bonded bridge removed later if they change their mind.
Patients who are only missing a few teeth may choose partial dentures instead of dental implant surgery. While partial dentures are a viable option for missing teeth, they do have some drawbacks, such as the need to remove them every day.
Flipper dentures are not considered a long-term solution for missing teeth but may be used to temporarily fill in the gap in your smile for aesthetics. A flipper denture is a removable acrylic retainer with a false tooth that fits where your tooth is missing.
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Replacing missing teeth can be a life-changing decision. Before you make the final choice, be sure to discuss all treatment options with your dentist or oral surgeon.