One of the major concerns around dental implants is the cost associated with them. To help you make an informed decision that is best for your oral health, it is important you understand that you many have other options in situations where a dental implant might be used…options that might be less expensive and more appropriate to your specific situation.
Gum Disease Treatment:
If your gums are receding and there has been bone loss around the tooth, that doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll lose your tooth and require a tooth replacement. With gum disease treatment, there are three cheaper procedures that your dentists/periodontist may be able to do to reduce your chances of needing implants.
- Gum Grafts: In this procedure, gum tissue is taken from your palate or from another source and used to cover the exposed roots of one or more teeth. Covering exposed roots helps reduce sensitivity and protects your roots from decay, while stopping gums from further recession and bone loss.
- Pocket Reduction: This includes folding back the gum tissue around the infected tooth so your dentist or periodontist can remove infectious bacteria and smooth areas of damaged bone, allowing the gum tissue to reattach to healthy bone.
- Regenerative Procedures: During this type of treatment, your dentist or periodontist will eliminate bacteria and then place either natural or synthetic bone in the area along with tissue-stimulating proteins to help your body effectively regrow bone and tissue.
If after consulting your dentist, you find that these treatment alternatives work, ensure to book more checkups and cleaning appointments to keep on top of your periodontal health and drastically reduce your need for implants.
Root Canal Therapy:
While dental implants are used to replace teeth if your teeth have little to no remaining structure to them, root canals are designed to save your existing teeth. Like gum disease, it really depends on how severe your infection is (as there are instances when the infection has damaged the tooth to the point where it cannot be saved). Your natural teeth are your best option for having optimal oral health. If you are using root canal therapy as an alternative to dental implants, your dentist will remove the infected or inflamed pulp inside your tooth and then restore the tooth with a dental crown. Your natural smile is maintained. With proper care, a tooth that undergoes a root canal can last a lifetime.
If you can’t save the tooth either with gum disease treatment or root canal therapy, you can often get a dental bridge that will perform the same function. With a dental bridge, the replacement tooth is supported by dental crowns on teeth next to the missing tooth. Dental bridges are fixed, meaning they are not loose and won’t slip out. You can maintain your existing diet and they can look as good as dental implants. There are three options for bridges as an alternative to dental implants:
- Tooth-supported fixed bridges: uses healthy adjacent teeth to attach and support the bridge.
- Removable partial/complete dentures: this denture sits on top of the gums where the missing teeth were and need to be taken out for cleaning your teeth.
- Resin bonded bridges: also known as a Maryland bridge, this is used for replacing your front teeth and is affixed to your healthy adjacent teeth with wings on each side.
If the damage to your tooth is extensive and one of these three alternatives is not a long-lasting solution, then your dental professional may recommend extraction and implant dentistry. When you visit one of our dentists, they will provide you with all available options. At Altima, several of our clinics offer a range of implant dentistry options and have a team of dental professionals. If you would like to know more about implant dentistry, or to book a consultation at one of our locations, please contact us today.