Sure, dental implants are a great way to replace all of your missing teeth. But to be honest, not everyone qualifies for dental implant surgery, or there may be some reservations about how much dental implants cost. Dental implants are often the best solution if someone has missing teeth. However, when circumstances don’t allow for dental implant therapy, there are other teeth replacement options you might want to consider.
Dental Implant Alternatives
Let’s assume you don’t qualify for dental implants and need an alternative. When that’s the case, replacing your missing teeth usually involves one of the following options:
Fixed Dental Bridge
Dental bridges are extremely common in restorative and cosmetic dentistry. Either end of the bridge can be attached to either a natural tooth or a dental implant, depending on how many teeth are missing. The pair of teeth (or implants) anchors the multi-tooth restoration, filling in the open space that’s created by your missing tooth.
A traditional, tooth-supported bridge usually only replaces one or two missing teeth at a time. Either end of the restoration also serves as a protective dental crown for the tooth that’s supporting it.
Getting a bridge installed is a relatively quick procedure, as it only requires two visits approximately two weeks apart (whereas dental implants are spaced over the course of several weeks and months.)
A partial denture replaces all of your missing teeth while fitting in place around your healthy, remaining teeth. Each of the teeth on your partial is matched to blend in with the natural tooth on either side of it.
When you get a partial denture, you don’t have to remove any of your other teeth to make room for the appliance. It simply snaps into place, using small clasps or extensions that wrap around your other teeth to help secure it during the day.
Unlike bridges, partial dentures are removable and need to be taken out at night whenever you go to sleep.
Traditional Full Dentures (“Plates”)
Complete dentures are one of the most tried-and-true treatments for complete tooth loss. Removable full-arch dentures restore all of the natural teeth in your upper or lower arch with one prosthesis. This removable dental restoration is economical, quick to create, and has been used for centuries.
Most of today’s dentures are made out of acrylic and are far better than they were years ago. Their tight fit creates a seal between the prosthesis and your gums to help hold it in place throughout the day.
Dental offices still offer traditional full dentures because of their low price and versatility. Almost anyone qualifies for them, as no oral surgeons are involved, and they are non-invasive in nature.
Doing Nothing at All
When someone doesn’t have dental insurance or the funds to cover the dental implant process or isn’t worried about having missing teeth, they might choose to leave that space as it is.
The only problem with a permanently missing tooth is that the neighboring teeth tend to suffer as a result. In time, they drift out of alignment and develop irregular wear patterns, which can cause jaw pain, broken enamel, and aesthetic concerns. Crooked teeth are also more at risk for cavities and gum disease, increasing the amount of dental work and office visits you need in the future.
Implant Supported Dentures
Is there a way to get affordable dental implants without the complexity of a full-arch traditional treatment? Absolutely. By blending the affordable option of traditional dentures with 2-4 strategically placed dental implants, you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Implant-supported dentures (also called “overdentures” or implant stabilized dentures) are a removable, snap-on prosthesis that attaches to dental implants. Although your denture looks exactly like traditional dentures, the base of it has special locators that snap or clip onto corresponding dental implants. This allows us to reduce the cost of dental implants by using a hybrid appliance.
Overdentures are removable at the end of the day. Since they clip onto dental implants, you won’t have to worry about them rubbing, slipping, or losing suction. Plus, they’re a more affordable option than getting All-on-4 or All-on-6 treatment.
Implant supported dentures provide a better fit and improved comfort throughout the day compared to traditional “plates” that rest against the roof of your mouth. Even if you don’t normally qualify for dental implant treatment or worry that you can’t afford dental implants, a stabilized overdenture may still be appropriate for your situation.
Low-Cost Dental Implants
If dental implant costs are your main concern, our Chattanooga dentist may still be able to help. By minimizing your out of pocket costs and facilitating affordable dental care, you can still restore your smile while you save money. For example, 3rd party, interest-free financing through programs like Care Credit allows you to enjoy low monthly payment plans that don’t break your budget. And as long as you pay them off within a specific timeframe, the financing is completely interest-free. But if you prefer to space the payment plan out over a longer period of time, you still can at an affordable interest rate. You can also use any health savings account balance that you might have to help cover implants or other cosmetic procedures.
The cost of dental care is a major investment, regardless of whether it’s for a natural tooth or you need multiple implants. At McOmie Family Dentistry, we want to make sure that our patients have access to the treatments they need and the health care financing to make it possible.
Oral Health Care Tailored to You
If you have missing teeth and don’t have dental insurance (or you do, and it doesn’t cover the type of care you need), we’ll work with you one-on-one to create a restorative or cosmetic dentistry care plan that fits your goals and lifestyle. So, yes, you can afford dental care and replace your missing teeth.
Contact McOmie Family Dentistry in Chattanooga today to learn more about our customized dental procedures and treatment options.