I had tooth #13 extracted. What's the best alternative to an implant? My other teeth are in good condition. I'm in my early 50s

Doctor Answers 4

Alternatives for a missing tooth

When a tooth is missing there are several alternatives in addition to a dental implant.

If the adjacent teeth  are heavily filled, then a three tooth cemented bridge may be a good alternative. Keep in mind that a cemented bridge can slightly increase your chance for cavities, so if you are cavity prone,  this may not be a good option for you. A more conservative cemented option is called an inlay bridge. Although it is much more conservative, it's still requires a bit more homecare than a freestanding tooth  and therefore may be more prone to cavities .

The major advantage of a dental implant Is that it is easier to clean  because it is a freestanding tooth and  it is impossible  for an implant to get a cavity.

I hope you found this information to be helpful,

Dr. Champagne

A fixed bridge is a compromise.

If you don't mind having your good healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth number 13 ground down, then a bridge would be the next best alternative. In the 21st century, however, a fixed bridge is a compromised treatment, and implants are more like replacing a natural tooth. You will have to floss under your bridge and clean differently than you would an implant. Cleaning an implant tooth is more like cleaning your natural tooth, and it does not require for you to have natural healthy tooth structure taken away. Removable partial dentures or another option but it would be extremely inadvisable in your situation to just replace one tooth with something removed both. And unilateral partial would be a choking hazard, and a full partial denture going to the right side for stability would be way too much removable hardware. Cleaning it would be very difficult which could lead to tooth decay due to food entrapment.  Patients with removable partial dentures usually do not like the way they feel or look and end up putting them in there drawer instead of wearing them in their mouth.

Dental implants are the best treatment

When asking for the best alternative to a dental implant, you are asking for the best compromise.  A bridge would be the simple answer, followed by a removable partial denture, but a dental implant should be strongly considered.

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Tooth Replacement

The beauty of a dental implant is that you don't need to touch any of your other teeth in order to replace a missing tooth. That's why it's an ideal tooth replacement. If for whatever reason you can't or won't have an implant,  there are two alternatives. The first, is a conventional three tooth bridge. The two teeth next to the space have to be prepared in order to have this bridge.  That's how we did it prior to implants being as predictable as they are.  The other alternative is to do what's called a Maryland bridge. The replacement tooth gets chemically and mechanically bonded to the neighboring teeth thereby giving you a new tooth.  This procedure is more conservative of your own tooth structure, but there are factors that need to be considered in order for it to be effective long term.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.