Today, around 178 million Americans are missing at least 1 tooth and 40 million have no teeth at all.
For those with most or all teeth missing, they might feel self-conscious about it. Not to mention, it’s all pretty difficult to smile, eat, and speak without teeth.
Thankfully, there are some dental options out there to restore your smile! For example, many opt for dentures.
But what if you don’t want to get those? Is there an alternative to dentures?
The simple answer is “yes!” Read on to find out 3 great denture alternatives you can consider.
We know that this is still technically dentures, but hear us out at least. If you’re only missing a couple of teeth, then partial dentures can be a great option, considering you can take them out at any time.
They’re great for people who are missing teeth that are right next to one another. When you have consecutive teeth missing, some of the other options on this list might not be possible, so it’s good to keep an open mind about partial dentures.
The one drawback is that they’re not a permanent solution. Also, partial dentures may need adjustments as time goes on, so this means you’ll have to make frequent trips to the dentist.
Partial dentures are similar to regular dentures but as their name suggests, there are only a few replacement teeth on the dentures. Your dentist will put the appropriate replacement teeth onto a gum-covered base so that when you put the partial denture, it’ll fit your mouth perfectly.
How a partial denture works is by attaching to your existing natural teeth. Because of this, your dentist might need to put a crown on these natural teeth so the partial denture can stay on better.
If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to dentures, then this is a great one. Partial dentures don’t cost as much as other denture alternatives.
Dental bridges are a more permanent solution than dentures since they’re bonded to your teeth. They’re great if you’re missing several teeth in a row.
On the outside, 2 or more crowns function as anchors for the “bridge,” as they’re rooted with abutments. They might also be put on anchoring teeth. And the bridge itself is made up of multiple crowns that replace your missing teeth.
To get a dental bridge, it’ll take 2 visits to complete.
What’s great about bridges is they’ll look just as natural as your remaining teeth. However, they won’t help with bone loss since they sit on top of your gums. So like with dentures, dental bridges aren’t really a permanent solution.
There are actually several types of dental bridges: traditional, cantilever, and Maryland bonded. Read on to find out more about each.
Traditional Dental Bridges
Most dentists will place traditional bridges in if you need them. You’ll get an artificial tooth (pontic) that’s anchored down. On either side of the pontic are your healthy teeth that have crowns on top, which help keep your bridge secure.
This type of dental bridge is commonly used for people who have healthy teeth that can support it.
Cantilever Dental Bridges
Cantilever dental bridges are used when only one side of the pontic has an anchor tooth. They can even be used for people who have no teeth on either side.
This type of dental bridge is great for missing back teeth.
Maryland Bonded Bridges
Maryland bonded bridges are also known as resin-bonded bridges. These are typically used to replace teeth that are missing in the front.
What’s great about the Maryland bonded bridge is that it doesn’t require as much work. With traditional bridges, your natural teeth usually need to be reshaped. But with the Maryland bonded bridge, there is no reshaping and you don’t even need crowns on your adjacent teeth.
Dental implants are pretty much the only way you can permanently replace missing teeth. This is because implants go either in or right above your jawbone, which prevents further bone loss. The parts of an implant are the fixture or screw (artificial root), abutment (connecting piece), and crown (fake tooth).
There are a few types of dental implants available to you: endosteal, subperiosteal, and All-on-4. Find out more about each below.
Endosteal Dental Implants
This is the most commonly used type of dental implant. This is because it offers the most stability, as well as comfort.
These dental implants go straight into your jawbone, which means you’ll have to get the fixture drilled in first, heal, and then get the rest of the implant done. While this might take longer than the other options on this list, it’s the best long-term solution.
Subperiosteal Dental Implants
Subperiosteal dental implants don’t go into your jawbone. Instead, they rest right on top of it.
This type of implant is usually reserved for patients who don’t have enough bone. However, these implants are rarely used now.
All-on-4 implants are also known as full-arch fixed implant bridges. Basically, you get 4 implants throughout your top or bottom jaw, and bridges are placed on top.
Consider these as permanent dentures that look and feel as natural as your own teeth. All-on-4 implants are great for those who have no natural teeth left or need all of them pulled.
Try an Alternative to Dentures
If you’re missing teeth, then you’ve probably been looking for ways to regain oral function. While dentures work for others, it’s just not the thing for you.
We hope that after reading this article, you’ve realized that there are plenty of options out there. By speaking with your dentist, you can figure out what the best alternative to dentures is for you.
So stop feeling self-conscious about your missing teeth. With some professional help, you can feel confident about your smile once again!
For more articles on oral and overall health, check out our other blog posts now.