What are other treatment options available to replace missing teeth?

1. Dental Implants

Implants are considered to be the best treatment to replace a missing tooth or teeth. During implant treatment a metal (normally titanium) screw is inserted into the jawbone. The screw is left in the bone for some time so that it can integrate with the bone although in some cases it is possible to place the implant immediately after an extraction. This then provides an anchor for the crown. In most cases the crown is made of metal covered with porcelain.

Advantages and disadvantages of Implant treatment option:
  • Very reliable with good long-term results
  • No damage to the teeth on either side of the “gap” and the replaced tooth is not connected to the adjacent teeth.
  • The procedure can be done under local anesthesia (normal dental injection)
Disadvantages of implant treatment:
  • The treatment is expensive.
  • It can take as long as 9 months before the treatment can be completed and the crown is permanent. (In some cases immediate placement after an extraction is considered.)
  • In certain cases the amount of bone may not be sufficient and bone grafts are required. This will lead to an increase in cost and the treatment time.
  • As with any other dental treatment, failure of the implant is always a possibility.
2. Conventional 3 unit bridge

This option is not recommended now as a large amount of natural enamel and dentine are removed during the bridge preparation. This option used to be popular but due to its invasive nature, other procedures are preferred.

3. Mary-land bridge

The results of this technique are good and less invasive but the reliability is sometimes questioned.

4. Denture

Replacing missing teeth with a denture is unreliable and is not generally the treatment of choice as the result is less attractive and less successful.