Non-Implant Missing Tooth Replacement Options
Dental implants have dramatically increased in popularity since their inception. Understanding the variety of alternatives to dental implants may help explain the reasons for their burgeoning popularity. The first common alternative to an implant-supported dental bridge is the traditional tooth-supported fixed dental bridge at Smile Eden Prairie. To place a tooth-supported fixed bridge, first the dentist must grind away a portion of the enamel on the healthy adjacent teeth, in order to support the crowns that will anchor the bridge. This may make these adjacent teeth more susceptible to decay. Additionally, the tooth-supported bridge will succumb to the normal deterioration of the supporting bone and may also succumb to gum disease, as patients report that it is challenging to floss the area around the tooth-supported bridge. This will shorten the expected life span of the tooth-supported fixed bridge, which can last for as few as five years.
Another common alternative is a removable partial denture. While removable partial dentures don’t necessitate the grinding off of tooth enamel, they are reported to be both uncomfortable and unstable and can adversely affect eating and speaking. Removable partial dentures are less expensive than a more permanent solution, but they don’t function anywhere near as well or look as natural. Additionally, the bone underneath a removable partial denture, which has no tooth root present to support it, may gradually deteriorate, which will change the appearance of your smile and the overall shape of your face. The Maryland bridge is a third alternative to implant-supported bridges, and it is often used to replace the front teeth or other teeth that don’t face the same stresses as the highly used back teeth. While the backs of the adjacent healthy teeth do need to be prepared before the bridge’s metal wings can be affixed to them, the teeth themselves do not need to be ground down and therefore maintain their structural integrity. While a Maryland bridge may function and look better than a removable denture, it won’t last as long as implant-supported bridge work, nor does it function with the same mechanical efficiency. Finally, there is the familiar removable complete denture, which sits on top of the gums where the natural teeth were. These traditional removable dentures are notoriously uncomfortable and are likely to cause sore gums, negatively affect the taste of food, and make a clicking noise in the wearer’s mouth with any movement like smiling, yawning or coughing. The initial costs for a removable complete denture are low, but the life span of this denture can be very brief, and replacement costs should be expected to accumulate over the long term. Removable complete dentures must be regularly removed for cleaning, which is time-consuming and inconvenient. Finally, without the presence of tooth roots, the bones in the jaw can be expected to deteriorate over time, causing a sunken look in the lower face and affecting the fit of the removable complete denture. The implant-supported bridge is the only bridge that actually strengthens the jaw bone and supports further bone growth, preventing the sunken appearance and maintaining the health of the mouth.
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