Reviewed by Dr. Thao Le, DDS, MD

Losing a tooth isn’t just a cosmetic concern; it’s a health issue that impacts your quality of life, affecting how you chew, smile, and feel about your appearance.

While dental implants have become a popular choice for replacing missing teeth, they are not the only option available. If you have a missing tooth and are wondering about dental implant alternatives, this blog is for you! 

Table of Contents

The Gold Standard: Dental Implants

Dental implants are designed to mimic natural teeth, from their look to their function. These provide a solid base for replacement teeth, whether they are dental crowns, bridges, or dentures.

The titanium implant fuses with the jawbone, creating a strong and durable base for the artificial tooth. The result is a permanent solution that looks and feels like a natural tooth, allowing you to eat, speak, and smile with confidence. 

However, dental implants may not be an option for everyone.  Some people may have underlying health issues, such as diabetes or a weakened immune system, that can affect the success of the implant. Cost can also be a barrier for some individuals, as dental implants tend to be more expensive than other tooth replacement options.

Read our previous blog, Why Do Dental Implants Cost So Much? for more information about the cost of dental implants.   

5 Alternative Options to Dental Implants

If dental implants are not the best option for you, there are several alternatives that your dentist may recommend:

  1. Dental bridge: Like dental implants, bridges also involve placing a false tooth in the gap created by a missing tooth. However, instead of being anchored to the jawbone, bridges are supported by adjacent teeth that are covered with crowns. While this can be a more affordable option, it does require altering healthy teeth and may not provide the same level of stability as dental implants. The biggest drawback is that bridges do not stimulate the jawbone, which can lead to bone loss over time.
  2. Traditional dentures: Dentures are a more traditional option for replacing missing teeth. They are removable, custom-made replacements for missing teeth and surrounding tissue. Today’s dentures are more natural-looking and comfortable than ever before. However, some people may find them uncomfortable to wear or worry about them slipping during daily activities.
  3. Partial denture: A partial denture is a removable appliance that is supported by the remaining natural teeth. They are typically made of acrylic and metal and can be taken out for cleaning. While more affordable than dental implants, partial dentures are less stable and lead to bone loss.
  4. Resin-bonded bridge: This type of bridge is made of a metal or porcelain framework with artificial teeth attached, which are then bonded to the back of the adjacent natural teeth using resin. This option is similar to traditional bridges but does not require altering healthy teeth. However, they may not be as durable or stable as traditional bridges and can only be used for specific cases.
  5. Implant-supported bridge: This option involves placing two or more implants in the jawbone and attaching a bridge on top, filling the gap left by multiple missing teeth. Implant-supported bridges are more affordable than individual dental implants and provide better stability than traditional bridges.

Making the Right Choice for You

With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide on the best replacement for a missing tooth.

Keep these things in mind when deciding which tooth replacement option to choose: 

  • Consider your overall health and any underlying conditions that may impact the success of dental implants.
  • If you are a smoker, you will have to quit smoking for a period of time before and after dental implant surgery. For implants to be successful, we recommend quitting altogether. If this is not an option for you, you may want to consider alternative options. 
  • Discuss with your dentist which option would be most suitable for your specific case, including cost, maintenance, and long-term effects.
  • Think about your lifestyle and how each option may affect your daily activities, such as eating or speaking.
  • Take into account the location of the missing tooth and how it may impact your appearance.
  • Be sure to ask about any potential risks or complications associated with each option. 
  • Think about the cost of the replacement over a lifetime. A bridge may be cheaper initially, but may need to be replaced more frequently. Dental implants may have a higher upfront cost but can last a lifetime with proper care. 

Ultimately, the best option for replacing a missing tooth is one that meets your individual needs and preferences, while also providing functional and aesthetic benefits. 

If you would like to know more about dental implants, we recommend that you book a dental implant consultation with an oral surgeon to discuss your options and determine the best course of action for you.

Foley & Le – Your Partners in Oral Health

We understand the impact that missing teeth can have on your oral health and overall well-being. Our team of experienced oral surgeons is dedicated to helping you find the best tooth replacement option for your specific needs, whether it be dental implants or another alternative.

If you are searching for an ‘oral surgeon near me’ or ‘dental implants near me,’ we can help. Call (303) 444-2255 or complete the online inquiry form.

FAQs About Tooth Replacement Options

Is it really necessary to replace a missing tooth?

Yes, leaving a gap in your teeth can lead to shifting and misalignment of the surrounding teeth, jawbone loss, and changes in your bite. It can also affect your ability to chew properly and may impact your speech.

Who should not get dental implants?

Not everyone is a suitable candidate for dental implants. People with certain health conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes or autoimmune disorders may not be able to undergo the surgery. Smokers and heavy alcohol users are also at higher risk for complications during and after the procedure. Additionally, individuals with insufficient jawbone density may need to undergo bone grafting before getting dental implants.

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