Dental Implant Alternatives
Missing teeth can have a serious negative impact on your smile and oral health. It is important to replace them as soon as possible to prevent future issues. Dental implants are the most sought-after, reliable restoration option available. However, some patients might not be eligible for implants, or they may simply wish to explore other treatment options.
Here, Dr. Danny O’Keefe and our Flowood, MS, dental team explore dental implant alternatives and discuss the pros and cons of each.
Fixed Dental Bridge
Patients who are missing one tooth or up to three consecutive teeth can benefit from a fixed dental bridge. This restoration uses artificial teeth to fill in the space and dental crowns to secure the bridge in place.
Before placing a dental bridge, Dr. O’Keefe must prepare the natural teeth on both sides of the space by removing small amounts of enamel. By doing so, the teeth can serve as anchors for your new restoration.
Bridges can be made from a variety of resilient materials, including metal, zirconia, and medical-grade ceramic. If cared for properly, bridges can last upwards of 20 years.
Dental bridges look incredibly lifelike and offer impressive results. However, because they require alteration of natural tooth structure, they could compromise oral health in the future. To prevent these issues, patients should use a fluoride toothpaste and attend regular dental visits.
Modern dentures have been used to replace teeth for decades. In fact, different versions of dentures have been around since the ancient world.
Partial dentures replace several sporadically missing teeth, while full dentures replace an entire dental arch. These appliances rely on the gum tissue and underlying bone for stability and support. Shifting and slipping can occur over time as the bone ridge shrinks and changes shape. For this reason, routine denture relines are necessary.
Both full and partial dentures are removable, and must be taken out at night for proper cleaning. However, they remain the most affordable tooth replacement option available.
Many of our Flowood patients ask if they can just “do nothing” following tooth loss. While this is always an option, individuals should be aware of the consequences.
When a missing tooth is not replaced, the surrounding teeth begin to shift out of place. This can cause serious bite issues, which could then lead to TMJ pain, decay, gum disease, and a wide range of other problems.
We ask all patients to seriously weigh the pros and cons of avoiding treatment after tooth loss. Our team is always available to discuss your options with you.
All-on-4 Dental Implants
While this option technically involves dental implants, it is a non-traditional approach that many patients find beneficial. All-on-4® implants can be an excellent solution for those who are not eligible for traditional dental implants because of bone loss.
This treatment involves the strategic placement of four dental implants that support a full, fixed dental restoration. If you have been told that you do not qualify for implants due to bone loss, ask your dentist about All-on-4.
Contact Us to Learn More
If you have sustained tooth loss, it is important to discuss replacement options right away. Dr. O’Keefe can perform a full assessment and make recommendations based on your unique dental needs. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment at our Flowood practice, contact us online or call us at (601) 936-2526.