If you are looking for alternatives to dental bridges to replace missing natural teeth, you are not alone. While these dental devices are commonly used for replacing missing teeth, they may not be an ideal solution for everyone.
Moreover, with the advancements in dental technology, there are now more alternatives you can look out for that may get you better functionality and aesthetics, depending on your unique condition.
This article explores these options by comprehensively looking at:
- What dental bridges are and how they work;
- Reasons that can make you opt for alternative treatment;
- Top dental bridges alternatives to consider.
Understanding Dental Bridges
Your dentist may recommend getting dental bridges if you have one or more missing natural teeth. So, what are dental bridges?
These are fixed prosthetic devices consisting of artificial teeth anchored in place by dental crowns attached to adjacent healthy teeth or implants.
You can only get dental bridges from the dentist, in a process that typically involves at least two or more visits.
With dental bridges, you get an excellent replacement for missing natural teeth as they help restore proper chewing functionality as the bite forces are evenly distributed. Moreover, with these prosthetic devices, you also get improved speech clarity and enhanced facial aesthetics. Dental bridges are also essential as they prevent adjacent teeth from shifting.
Why Should You Look for Dental Bridges Alternatives?
While dental bridges offer a plethora of benefits as an effective solution for individuals to replace missing natural teeth, they may not be suitable for everyone. Here are some of the main reasons that can make you opt for alternatives to dental bridges to replace your missing teeth:
- Insufficient natural teeth: Dental bridges require the presence of adjacent healthy teeth to serve as abutments for support. People with a limited number of natural teeth remaining or if the available teeth are weak or damaged may have to look for alternative teeth replacement methods.
- Poor oral health: For dental bridges to succeed, it is paramount that you have stellar oral health. However, if you have significant tooth decay, gum disease, or other noticeable oral health issues, you must address them before considering dental bridges.
- Insufficient jawbone density: Dental bridges rely on the support of the jawbone for enhanced stability. However, if you have insufficient jawbone density or facing structural concerns like bone loss, you may have to undergo bone grafting or consider alternative options for replacing the missing teeth.
- Bruxism: Bruxism or teeth grinding is a habit that may not sit well with dental bridges, as it can lead to damage or failure. If you grind your teeth, your dentist may recommend alternative teeth replacement methods.
- Personal preferences: Dental bridges are permanently fixed in your mouth and require an extensive procedure. However, if you prefer non-permanent options or those requiring less alteration to existing teeth, you may choose alternative options.
Best Alternatives to Dental Bridges
If you are not an ideal candidate for dental bridges or you simply want to explore other options, here are the top alternatives to dental bridges that can help you to restore your smile and oral functionality:
Dental implants are the number one contender for dental bridge alternatives. These prosthetics have revolutionized the restorative dentistry industry, as they offer a closer resemblance to natural teeth in functionality, strength, and appearance.
Although there are different dental implant types, getting them typically involves getting titanium posts surgically inserted into the jawbone to provide a robust foundation for attaching artificial teeth. Doing so eliminates the need for altering adjacent teeth, as is the case with dental bridges, hence preserving the integrity of the remaining natural teeth.
Dentures are a more affordable and less invasive solution for replacing missing natural teeth compared to dental bridges. There are different types of dentures that you can get, depending on your unique needs and condition.
For instance, if you have a significant number of missing natural teeth, you may get complete dentures, which replace all your teeth. However, if you only need to replace teeth on your upper or lower jaw, you may opt for partial dentures.
There are other types of non-traditional dentures, such as implant-supported dentures. These prosthetics are held in place with dental implants and can either be permanently fixed or snapped on. Either way, these dentures offer better strength and stability.
Composite bonding can be a good alternative to dental bridges, especially if you only want to address minor gaps or missing teeth. In this treatment, dentists use tooth-colored composite resin to reshape and restore the appearance of damaged or missing teeth.
However, it would be prudent to note that composite bonding is only effective as a quick fix and does not work for extensive tooth loss.
Besides opting for a completely different type of solution, you can also look into other dental bridges that may suit your needs better. For instance, you may consider getting resin-bonded bridges, also known as Maryland bridges. These prosthetics offer a more conservative option for replacing missing teeth and require minimal tooth preparation.
Which Choice Is Right for You?
If you are looking for alternatives to dental bridges but not sure of what to go for, here are a few considerations you can have:
- Assess your oral health: Your dentist will have to assess your overall oral health to determine the best approach for replacing missing teeth. If you have structural issues, such as low bone density, you may have to go for alternatives like dentures and not implants.
- Aesthetics: If you are looking for an option that resembles your natural teeth, going for alternatives like dental implants can be a better idea. Although dentures can also appear like your natural teeth, they don’t offer the aesthetic appeal of implants.
- Budget: Your total budget is always a major consideration when searching for dental restorative solutions. Besides looking at the one-off cost of the products, consider other maintenance and replacement fees associated with the treatment. However, even though treatments like implants may be pricier than dental bridges, you can always get low-cost dental implants to boost oral health and restore functionality.
Nevertheless, while dental implants, dentures, and dental bonding can be a good alternative to dental bridges, you must get your dentist’s professional opinion to help you determine the best approach for replacing your missing natural teeth.
Other dental restoration options, like dental implants, are considered better than dental bridges due to their advanced strength, functionality, and aesthetic appeal.
Dental bridges can be worth the money only if they are right for you. Your dentist will first assess your candidacy, and if you are approved for the treatment, only then can they be worth every penny.
The cheapest material used for dental bridges is typically acrylic or composite resin. These materials are cost-effective but may not provide the same level of durability or aesthetics as other materials like cobalt-chromium.