Non Implant Missing Tooth Replacement Options

Dental implants have gained significant popularity as an excellent tooth-replacement option. The following article will review how bridge and dentures compare to implants, in addition to their advantages and disadvantages.

Tooth-supported Fixed Bridge

This is the most common treatment to dental implants for a single missing tooth. A tooth-supported fixed bridge requires that the adjacent, supporting teeth be ground down in order to properly support and attach the bridge. This type of bridge fails to stimulate the jawbone, which can result in bone resorption. In most cases, bridges fail after 5-10 years because they are difficult to effectively clean which makes decay a prominent issue.

1. Cost effective method for replacing a missing tooth
2. Maintenance includes regular brushing and flossing
3. Feel and function like natural teeth
4. Low risk treatment option
5. Straightforward procedure which takes about two or three weeks to complete

1. Higher cost than a removable denture
2. Healthy tooth structure is removed for preparation to support the bridge
3. Increased risk of future decay and infection
4. Cleaning below the bridge is critical but can be challenging
5. No bone stimulation is provided below the bridge
6. Shorter life expectancy compared to an implant-supported bridge

Removable Partial Dentures

While this solution does not require that the adjacent teeth be ground down, removable dentures also lack the stability and comfort which dental implants provide. Denture can also negative impact the patient’s ability to eat and speak properly. While this solution is more affordable, it lacks a natural appearance and function. The jawbone has a tendency to resorb over time. This can cause a change in the patient’s facial structure.

1. Less expensive solution than fixed bridges or implants
2. Effective solution
3. Removable denture can be modified as needed
4. Non-invasive and quick procedure

1. Less stable and comfortable
2. Does not have the function or appearance of natural teeth
3. Daily removal is required for cleaning
4. Frequent adjustments necessary
5. Fragile and easy to break or lose

Resin-bonded or Maryland Bridge

This solution is commonly used to replace a missing front tooth which does not have to withstand the biting and chewing forces which occur on the back teeth. This type of bridge contains a prosthetic tooth with wings on each side which are attached to the adjacent teeth. It uses an adhesive and does not require grinding down of the healthy teeth. This type of bridge has a more natural appearance and function compared to removable dentures. However, they are not have the stability or duration of a dental implant.

1. No grinding on the healthy teeth
2. Affordable treatment
3. Non-invasive procedure which doesn’t require the use of drilling or injections

1. High risk of failure
2. Adhesive can cause issues
3. Plaque can be trapped around the prosthetic tooth which can be difficult to clean
4. Issue with metal showing through the adjacent teeth and the color of the prosthetic tooth

Full Removable Denture

This type of denture rests on top of the gums. The initial cost for the treatment is relatively low, however, dentures typically last for about 7-15 years before they require repair or replacement. Removable dentures can also be quite uncomfortable, impact the patient’s diet, create sores on the gums, and slip during routine activities. Daily removal is required for cleaning. The jawbone is not stimulated which can result in deterioration and change the patient’s facial structure and appearance.

1. Inexpensive solution with and quick treatment time
2. Improved appearance of missing and damaged teeth
3. Adjustments and modifications can be made as needed

1. Bone loss and changes in the shape of the jaw can negatively impact the fit
2. Dietary restrictions and limitations
3. Daily removal required for cleaning
4. Adhesives are required to secure the dentures


What is a Dental Bridge

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