Dental Implant Alternatives By Thomas G. Zarger Jr., D.D.S. on July 24, 2020

Picture comparison of dental implants vs denturesFollowing tooth loss, it is important to seek replacement options as soon as possible. Many of our patients choose dental implants, which preserve existing bone and overall oral health.

Due to health issues, finances, or other reasons, some individuals may wish to explore dental implant alternatives. At Dr. Thomas G. Zarger’s practice, serving Knoxville, TN, Maryville, TN, and Oak Ridge, TN, we offer a number of restorative options at our family practice, including dentures and bridges. Here, we will explore the most popular replacement options at our practice and discuss the importance of replacing missing teeth so you can enjoy a healthy smile for years to come.

Do Nothing

Many patients want to know if they can just leave their smile as-is whenever they lose a tooth. In short, we do not recommend this. The only exceptions are third molars, which should never be replaced.

When you leave a gap or space in your smile, the surrounding teeth begin to shift. Over time, this changes the bite and can cause several serious issues, including bruxism, gum disease, decay, and TMJ disorder.

If you lose a tooth, shifting will not happen overnight. However, we recommend seeing our Maryville, TN team as soon as possible. We can help you explore your options and give you time to make a decision that is right for you.

Removable Dentures

Dentures have technically been around for centuries. The modern versions are custom-made from high-quality materials that offer maximum aesthetics and comfort. These appliances are removable, and can replace several or all of the missing teeth in a dental arch.

Though dentures look incredibly natural, many patients complain that they shift or slip out of place when eating or speaking. Dental adhesives can help with this, but many individuals end up upgrading to a dental implant-supported restoration.

Fixed Traditional Bridge

Before dental implants were invented, bridges were the go-to option for teeth replacement. These restorations are supported by the natural teeth on both sides of the gap and use artificial teeth to complete your smile.

Bridges are an excellent option for many patients. Keep in mind that these restorations require some enamel removal, and the bridge will need to be replaced eventually. The average lifespan of a dental bridge is five to 15 years.

Non-conventional Implant Options

Even if you do not qualify for standard dental implants, there may be other, non-traditional implant options available to you. Here are some of the most common:

  • Implant-supported dentures: Patients who have conventional dentures, but want a more stable option, can benefit from implant-supported dentures. These appliances are still removable, but are held firmly in place by implants placed in the jaw.
  • All-on-4® dental implants: Individuals with bone loss may still qualify for this treatment. All-on-4 supports a fixed, full-arch restoration on just four implants. The implants are placed strategically to maximize bone support and preserve oral health.
  • Mini implants: If the bone ridge is not wide enough to accommodate standard implants, mini implants can be placed instead. Mini implants are the same length as traditional implants, but they have a smaller diameter.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

Explore your teeth replacement options today at our dental practice. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, contact us online or call us at (865) 693-7631. We are always available to answer any questions.

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