When people lose their teeth, the standard of care today is to replace them with dental implants, because implants are typically stronger and longer-lasting than other types of dental appliances. However, not everyone is a good candidate for them. For instance, some people are allergic to the titanium posts. Here are two tooth replacement alternatives that may be a better fit for your needs.
A dental bridge is an appliance consisting of two or more crowns connected to a metal wire and designed to connect to the teeth surrounding the gap. Sometimes bridges are anchored in place with dental implants, depending on how many are missing and the general health of the person's mouth.
Dental bridges are best for people who have up to three missing teeth in one area of their mouths (e.g. two missing front teeth). Like other replacement teeth, bridges can restore chewing function, prevent other teeth from moving out of place, and maintain your face shape.
Be aware, though, the dentist will need to reduce the size of surrounding teeth to properly attach the crowns used to hold the bridge in place. Sometimes bridges can cause these anchor teeth to deteriorate at a faster than normal rate, so it's critical you maintain excellent oral hygiene and have the appliance inspected on a regular basis.
You can expect to pay approximately $500 to $1,200 per tooth for a bridge, and they are often partially covered by dental insurance.
Dentures are removable trays of false teeth designed to cover a larger number of missing teeth. Full dentures cover the entire top or bottom row of teeth after they've all gone missing or been removed. Partial dentures are similar to dental bridges in that the teeth are attached to a metal framework and designed to connect to some of your natural teeth. However, dentures are removable whereas dental bridges are permanent fixtures.
Dentures put the least amount of stress on surrounding teeth. However, they do take awhile to get used to and may require relearning how to speak and eat. They also typically require adjustments every so often because the jaw bone thins after awhile without teeth and the dentures may become loose as a result.
These dental appliances can cost between $300 and $5,000, depending on how many teeth need to be replaced. Most dental plans do cover dentures, so the amount you pay may be less. There are also some social programs that may cover the entire cost of dentures for certain populations (e.g. elderly persons).
For more information about these teeth replacement options, contact a local cosmetic dentist.