Two of my upper left teeth are missing from a 2010 accident. I want to replace the teeth, but I cannot afford dental implants. I have always been self-conscious about it, but I finally have dental insurance to do something about it. I’ve explored my options, and the dentist I saw recommended dental implants. When I heard about the cost, I knew I could not afford them. Beyond recommending dental implants, the consultation did not help explain alternatives to dental implants. Can you explain them and what I can expect? Thank you. Carmen from Sacramento, CA
Thank you for contacting Bayou Dental Group. We understand the frustration of missing teeth and how it affects your smile. Replacing your teeth is vital to your oral health. The dentist you saw recommended dental implants because they mimic natural tooth structure and are the most effective way to replace missing teeth. Still, we will explain the alternatives.
What Are the Alternatives to Dental Implants?
Alternatives to dental implants include a partial denture or a dental bridge. Before recommending options, a dentist must complete a comprehensive exam and take digital x-rays of your teeth.
A partial denture is a custom-made oral appliance for replacing missing teeth. You will remove the partial denture nightly to clean it and allow your gums to rest.
- Framework: You can choose a metal frame or nylon resin that matches the shade of your gums
- Replacement teeth: Acrylic replacement teeth ft in the denture base.
- Securing it A metal or clear clasp on each end of the denture will hook onto adjacent teeth.
- Appearance: A partial dentist can closely match surrounding natural teeth. Clasps that hook onto adjacent teeth may show.
- Oral health: The clasps can pressure the teeth supporting the denture and weaken them over time. Also, the clips can irritate your gums or cause gum recession.
A dental bridge is a non-removable or fixed appliance cemented to each natural tooth immediately next to the missing one. It is more expensive than a partial denture but less expensive than dental implants.
- Framework: A bridge consists of a series of dental crowns joined at their sides
- Replacement teeth: Replacement teeth are in the middle of the bridge
- Securing it: A dentist must shave and reshape each tooth on either side of the missing one(s). The ends of the bridge will fit over the shaved teeth, and your dentist will cement the bridge to the teeth.
- Appearance: Skilled cosmetic dentists make natural-looking ceramic dental bridges that match your surrounding teeth. People will not notice that you have a dental bridge.
- Oral health: A bridge requires removing healthy tooth structure from each tooth immediately next to the missing one(s). Otherwise, the bridge will not affect your oral health.
Why Should You Replace Missing Teeth?
You should replace missing teeth because other than detracting from your smile, the gaps between teeth affect your oral health.
- Misalignment: Missing teeth cause adjacent and opposing (upper or lower) teeth to drift out of position
- Root surface exposure: Unwanted tooth movement can expose the surfaces of tooth roots and lead to decay.
- Pockets in gum tissue: If gum pockets form around mispositioned teeth, plaque and bacteria in the pockets can become challenging to remove and encourage gum disease.
Request a Dental Implants Consultation
Search for advanced cosmetic dentists online and schedule consultations with two dentists offering dental bridges or partial dentures. Ask each dentist to explain which treatment options can work for your case.
Monroe, Louisiana, accredited cosmetic dentist Dr. David Finley sponsors this post.