Dental implants are a successful, long-term treatment option for anyone facing tooth loss, and one of the best developments in modern dental care. They are not necessarily the right option for everyone, however, and it’s important to make your final decision based on full disclosure. Here are the various types of dental implants available at our dental clinic in Surrey BC, and the alternatives you can consider if these aren’t suited to you.
Dental Implant Options
1. Same Day Implants
Also known as “teeth in a day” this option enables you to receive a temporary crown on the same day as you get the implant inserted surgically into your jaw. It means you can eat, smile, and speak normally while the site heals, which takes between 3 and 6 months. This is ideal for anyone who has enough bone density to support implants and also handle the force of chewing with a temporary crown. Not everyone is a suitable candidate for this dental implant procedure, so it’s important to get your dentist’s recommendation before you decide.
2. Mini Implants
Mini dental implants (MDIs) are small implants that measure less than 3 mm in diameter, compared with traditional implants that are 3 to 6 mm across. These implants are often used to secure a complete upper or lower denture. They are suitable for patients who are not candidates for regular implants, because the insertion is a minimally invasive dental implant procedure.
Many people who wear complete removable dentures are unhappy because they struggle with the plates slipping or shifting. Dentures also need lengthy cleaning and maintenance, and often result in restrictions on what you can eat.
Dental implants are a good solution to these issues, and instead of replacing each individual tooth with an implant, a full denture is mounted on just 4 or 6 implants. This cuts down the cost dramatically, as well as the time required and the pain involved.
The process also allows dentists to make use of the patient’s bone, which means many implant patients with lower bone density can avoid needing bone grafting surgery.
Getting All-on-4 or 6 dentures takes a couple of appointments to plan and prepare and one to insert the implants and temporary dentures. You’ll be able to use these with a careful diet while the sites heal, and you’ll need a couple of checkups during the recovery period. You’ll then schedule a consultation for placing the final denture.
What Disqualifies You from Dental Implants?
There are two main factors that impact the decisions people make about dental implants. These are a) cost, because full dental implants are very expensive, and b) they might not be suitable candidates, because the patient:
- Shows signs of low bone density in the jawbone
- Takes medications that can interfere with bone growth
- Has gum disease
- Smokes and/or drinks alcohol to excess
- Has untreated or poorly controlled diabetes.
In these cases, people can choose alternatives to dental implant options, which will likely serve them just as well in their circumstances.
Choosing Dental Implant Alternatives
At our dental clinic in Surrey BC, we want you to have complete information about your options before you make a final choice, so we’ve outlined here some non-implant ways to restore your smile.
Fixed or Resin-Bonded Bridges
A fixed bridge supported by natural teeth is a great option for restoring one tooth or two that are missing beside each other. The bridge spans the gap and is fixed to the teeth on either side of it, and the artificial teeth are attached to the bridge. This becomes a permanent fixture in the mouth, which doesn’t need removal for cleaning.
Benefits of this method are the reduced cost, a very effective, natural look and it is much faster than most of the other options. Disadvantages are that the supporting teeth need to be ground down to accommodate the device, which puts stress on them and exposes them to potential decay. A fixed bridge is also unlikely to last as long as an implant-supported bridge, which means at some point you will need to replace it.
A resin-bonded bridge is only used for replacing front teeth, and it has “wings” that are cemented to the back of the adjoining teeth. It’s great for appearances but isn’t as strong as a fixed bridge or any of the types of dental implants.
Removable Full or Partial Dentures
Full dentures have been around for decades, and during this time they have improved tremendously. A good full set of removable precision dentures can cost you around $4,000, however, so it’s not an option to pursue because of pricing. Full dentures are practical only if you aren’t able to get dental implants for some reason.
If you only need to replace a few teeth, a removable partial denture might be the right solution for you. This is a much less invasive option because there is no surgical intervention and no grinding down required, but they are also not as strong or as stable. This means the artificial teeth won’t have the same level of functionality, and it won’t protect you against bone loss. Partials are, however, a fast, inexpensive solution to a gap if you can’t do anything else right now.