Alternatives To Dental Implants

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Dental Implant Alternative: Tooth Replacement Option for Adults

Dental implant treatment is a popular dental procedure that replaces one or more missing teeth by placing a metal post in the jawbone to serve as a natural tooth root. However, this is not the only option available that offers many benefits, especially if you have certain medical conditions that make dental implant surgery a risk.

If you are seeking another way to replace your missing teeth and regain your smile, keep reading to learn about other suitable options that you may consider.

What Are Dental Implants?

What Are Dental Implants?

Implants are small metal posts surgically placed in the jawbone to act as tooth roots. They are often made of biocompatible materials, such as titanium or zirconia. Implant surgery is an invasive procedure wherein your dentist or oral surgeon will insert the metal posts into your jawbone by drilling small holes. After months of healing, they will attach replacement teeth or an artificial tooth, such as a dental crown, denture, or bridge, to the post. It is a long-term treatment for missing teeth since the implants need to fuse to the bone, but it can last for many years with proper care.

While dental implants are a popular treatment option, they are not right for everyone. If you have certain medical conditions, take certain medications, or have lower bone density that makes dental implant surgery a risk, your dentist may recommend another option.

What Treatment Alternatives for Dental Implants Are Available?

As mentioned above, some circumstances may make you ineligible for dental implants. Fortunately, a few alternative treatments are available that can provide the same benefits, including:

1. Gum Disease Treatments

When your tooth has become loose due to gum disease, your dentist may opt for a gum disease treatment. This is an alternative to tooth extraction and dental implants. Gum disease occurs when the gums become inflamed and can damage tooth enamel, leading to decay and cavity formation. In cases of severe gum disease, your teeth can become loose.

However, with the proper gum disease treatment, you can improve oral health and save teeth. Numerous treatments are available, depending on the severity of the condition.

Some common gum disease treatments include:

  • Scaling and root planing:
    This is a non-surgical procedure involving removing tartar (hardened plaque) from above and below the gum line. The roots of your teeth are also smoothed to help remove bacteria and toxins.

  • Antibiotics:
    These can be in the form of mouth rinses, gels, or pills. They help kill bacteria and reduce inflammation.

  • Surgery:
    In severe cases of gum disease, surgery may be required to remove tartar and plaque in unreachable areas.

You should note that gum disease treatments will only be successful if you commit to good oral hygiene habits. Otherwise, the chances of tooth loss will increase and you may need tooth replacement procedures instead.

2. Root Canal Therapy

If your tooth is badly decayed, injured or infected, extraction is not the only treatment option. In some cases, your dentist may be able to save your tooth by performing a root canal. It involves removing the infected tissue and sealing the area with a biocompatible material. A restoration, or a crown, will be placed on the tooth to protect it and restore its function.

3. Classic Dental Bridge

If you are missing one or more teeth, a bridge treatment may also be recommended, which can be completed in only a couple of weeks. This is made up of two crowns placed over the adjacent teeth with a false tooth (also called a pontic or prosthetic tooth) in between. The pontic is attached to the crowns and fills the space left by the missing tooth.

While this treatment option can be effective, it’s important to note that the adjacent teeth must be healthy enough to support the crowns.

4. Maryland Dental Bridge

Like the classic dental bridge, a Maryland dental bridge uses two crowns placed over the adjacent teeth with a pontic in between. The difference is that instead of being attached to the crowns, the pontic is bonded to metal bands that are then bonded to your natural teeth.

5. Full Or Partial Dentures

You may opt for partial or full mouth dentures if you have one or more missing teeth. These removable appliances are customised to fit your mouth and can be a good option for replacing missing teeth if you are not a candidate for dental implants.

What Are The Benefits Of Dental Implants?

There are several advantages to implants that make them a popular treatment option, such as:

  • Improved Aesthetics:
    Implants look and feel like natural teeth. They are also designed to match the colour of your existing teeth.

  • Improved Oral Health:
    Unlike removable dentures, implants do not require special cleaning solutions. Simply brush and floss them regularly, just like your real teeth.

  • Improved Speech:
    When you lose a tooth, it can be hard to pronounce certain sounds. Also, poorly-made dentures can change the way sounds are produced when you speak. Dental implants effectively replace missing teeth, making it easier to speak clearly.

  • Improved Comfort:
    Since dental implants are placed in the bone, they fuse with it over time. They are also more secure and stable than dentures, meaning there is no need to worry about slipping or falling out.

  • Increased Durability:
    Dental implants are durably designed to last for many years. On average, their lifespan is 10 to 15 years, but they can last up to 25 years or more with proper care.

How Painful Is Getting A Dental Implant?

The level of pain you experience during dental implant surgery will depend on your individual pain tolerance. However, most people report minimal discomfort during and after the procedure.

Dental implant surgery is typically done under local anaesthesia, which numbs the area around the tooth being worked on. You may also be given sedation to help you relax.

After the procedure, you may experience soreness in your gums and jaw. This is normal and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication.

Who Is Not Suitable For Dental Implants?

If you have the following qualifications, you may not be eligible to have dental implants:

  • Poor oral health.
    You may not be eligible to have dental implants if you have oral issues due to poor dental hygiene. This is because the success of implants relies heavily on good oral health. Your dentist may recommend addressing active dental problems before moving forward with the procedure. Also, jaw bone loss may make you ineligible because the implant needs to be placed and fused with the bone to be successful.

  • Heavy smoker.
    Consuming tobacco products increases the risk of implant failure. This is because it decreases blood flow to the gums, which can impede healing. You can opt for dentures or other options to replace missing teeth. However, it is still best to quit smoking for your overall health and for the success of any dental procedure.

  • Poor overall health.
    Implants may not work for you if you have a chronic illness like diabetes or heart disease. These conditions can decrease your body’s ability to heal after surgery. Dentures may also be a good option if you have these conditions and want to replace your missing teeth.

  • Not committed to practising good dental hygiene.
    Dental implants
     require a lifelong commitment to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. The implant can fail if you do not take care of your teeth. Also, implants need regular dental check-ups to ensure they function properly and catch any problems early. Even with the other alternatives, such as dentures, you still need to take care of your mouth to prevent gum disease and other issues.

  • No patience to wait.
    It can take several months for the entire process to be completed, from start to finish, including months of healing time. If you are unwilling to wait, you may want to consider alternative options, such as dentures that take less time to place.

What Happens If You Pull A Tooth But Don't Replace It?

If you pull a tooth but don’t replace it, the space left behind can cause a number of problems:

  • The most obvious problem is that it can affect your speech and chewing function.

  • The gaps left by missing teeth can also cause your remaining teeth to shift out of place, leading to further problems such as bite and temporomandibular (jaw) joint issues.

  • Missing teeth can also affect your appearance and self-confidence, and you may feel embarrassed about smiling or talking to people.

  • Bone loss can also result from not replacing missing teeth for an extended period. When a tooth is removed, the bone that supports it starts to shrink. This can cause your face to change shape and make you look older.

How Risky Are Dental Implants?

How Risky Are Dental Implants?

While implant treatments are generally safe with high success rates, they still come with risks, especially if an inexperienced dentist performs them or if you don’t follow the aftercare instructions.

The most common complications of dental implants include:

  • Infection:
    If the implant site is not kept clean, bacteria can grow and cause an infection. This can lead to pain, swelling, and fever. In some cases, the implant may need to be removed.

  • Nerve damage:
    There is a risk of damaging the nerves in your teeth when the implant is being placed. This can result in temporary numbness or tingling in your teeth and gums. In rare cases, it can cause permanent nerve damage.

  • Jawbone loss:
    If the implant is not placed correctly, it can rub against the bone and cause it to degrade over time. This can lead to pain and instability in the implant.

  • Allergic reactions:
    In rare cases, you may be allergic to the materials used in implant treatment, such as titanium. This can cause swelling, redness, and pain at the implant site.

Often, these are temporary and should go away within a week or two. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your dentist as soon as possible so they can manage the issue.

What Are the Different Dental Implant Types?

There are three dental implant types, such as:

  • Endosteal implants:
    These types are the most common. They are placed directly into your jawbone and are usually used to support a single tooth, a bridge, or a set of dentures.

  • Subperiosteal implants:
    These consists of a metal framework placed under the gum but on top of the jawbone. They are often used for people who have lost all of their teeth or who have weakened jawbones.

  • Zygomatic implants:
    These are placed in the cheekbone and are usually used for people who have lost all of their teeth. However, this type of dental implant is rarely used.

Final Thoughts

Implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and have many benefits. However, not everyone is eligible for this dental procedure due to certain contraindications. Fortunately, there are other alternatives to dental implants, including dentures and dental bridges.

If you have missing teeth and are unsure if dental implant surgery is right for you or another option, call us now at 08 9349-0800 to book an appointment.

Comfort Care Dental has a team of dentists with years of experience performing dental implant surgery, dentures, gum disease treatment, dental bridges, and others. In addition to our state-of-the-art technology, they also use advanced techniques and effective treatment plan to ensure favourable outcomes. They also take precautions to reduce your chance of complications. At your first consultation, your dentist or oral surgeon will examine and assess your oral health to determine the most viable option for you if dental implant surgery is not possible.


Dr. Karthik Lakkaraju

For Dr Karthik, dentistry is the complete package. He most enjoys the feeling he gets when he sees a patient achieve a beautiful smile, or can put an end to pain and increase the quality of life. He believes oral health is a mirror of general health and reflects the person’s personality and confidence.

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