Budget-Friendly Alternatives to Dental Implants
If you find that dental implants are not in your budget, Brueggen Dental can offer more budget-friendly procedures to solve dental problems that need immediate attention. If you are experiencing the following problems, we will work with you to find the best solution:
- UNSATISFACTORY- UPPER DENTURE
If you are unable to tolerate the palette of your upper denture because of gagging or if you’re unable to taste the foods you enjoy, there’s probably no alternative to dental implants. If your problem is a loose upper denture or if you’re unhappy with the appearance of your teeth, then a very high quality new denture may help. On average, about three out of four patients feel their problem has improved with a new upper denture.
- UNSATISFACTORY LOWER DENTURE
More than three out of four patients find lower dentures to be unsatisfactory. There is simply no opportunity for suction with a lower denture. The surface area for support is limited, and the tongue tends to dislodge the appliance as it moves during speech or eating. Many patients blame their dentist for this but often that is not the cause. When there is the possibility of improvement, then the fabrication of a new very high quality lower denture may solve the problem, but unfortunately, it often does not. However, if dental implants are completely out of the question, in selected cases, a very high quality new denture may be the only hope for improvement.
The longer a denture has been worn, the more common and unmanageable these problems become. A common comment from patients is: "I've been wearing dentures for years, and I did ok" or "Why can't anyone make me a denture that fits now?" The answer is that as we age without natural teeth or implants, more and more of the supporting bone is lost and the tissues of the mouth, just like the skin on our arms or faces, become less elastic and more fragile. As this happens, the old existing denture settles in, much as an old pair of shoes adapts to our feet, and may remain reasonably comfortable. But when it wears out and a new one must be made, the mouth is no longer able to adapt. Overall, lower dentures are rarely satisfactory and making a new one is often met with failure.Mini Dental Implants
If traditional implants are not an option, Mini Dental Implants have helped many patients reverse the crippling effects of a lower denture. Mini Dental Implants are similar to regular root form dental implants, just smaller. Because of their size, placement is simple. There are no incisions or sutures, so recovery is quick and almost painless for most patients. Because they work much like a screw, they may be placed immediately.
The FDA has approved Mini Dental Implants for permanent placement to secure a denture, upper or lower, or attach a crown for the replacement of a single tooth. However, they are much less attractive for single tooth replacement, and Dr. Brueggen never uses them in the upper arch.
Extensive experience has revealed that Mini Dental Implants are an excellent alternative for securing a lower denture. Because the components are relatively inexpensive and because placement is so simple, they are dramatically less expensive than regular implants, opening the world of implants to many patients who would otherwise be excluded.
The Mini Dental Implant attachment system incorporates a ball on the implant and a rubber o-ring in the denture. The ball is very reliable, but the rubber o-rings are unpredictable. Some o-rings may last for 2 years or even longer, and others may last for just 2 or 3 months. O-ring replacement is not very expensive, usually $25.00 to $250.00, and it is not commonly required more than every 6 months.
The downside of Mini Dental Implants is the questionable long-term reliability and the limited attachment systems. Mini Dental Implants are relatively new and have only been approved for permanent usage for a few years, so there is limited evidence to support their long-term reliability.
Another issue is that Mini Dental Implants cannot be used in fresh extraction sites. Six months to a year must be allowed after extractions before they can be placed. In properly selected cases, Mini Dental Implants can be a nice alternative for securing a lower denture, so you can eat, speak and laugh confidently without messy adhesives. More on mini Dental Implants.
- ONE OR MORE MISSING TEETH
If there is a natural tooth on each side of the missing tooth, and it is strong enough, a fixed dental bridge may be considered. Until the last few years, this was the "gold standard" for tooth replacement. It is quick, simple, effective and usually less expensive than a dental implant is initially. The downside is that it severely damages the natural teeth it attaches to, often leading to the loss of more teeth, and it has a limited life span - usually 7 to 10 years. Because of the predictable need for replacement and the potential for costly damage to the teeth it attaches to, its long term cost may often exceed that of an implant. However, when short term cost and convenience outweighs these concerns, dental bridges may be an attractive alternative to dental implants.
Another alternative for the replacement of one or more missing teeth is a partial denture. Partial dentures are probably the oldest method for tooth replacement currently in use. They come in countless shapes and materials. Their common factor is that they come in and out as a full denture does, and they clip to natural teeth with some type of attachment system. They are simple to make and, in most cases, are dramatically more comfortable to wear than a complete denture. Cost is low from a few hundred dollars to around $5,000. Thus, ten or even twelve teeth may be replaced for the cost of one implant.
The downsides include possible movement while eating, which traps food beneath them, visibility of the attachment systems when smiling and stress to the teeth to which they attach, often leading to further tooth loss. Many dentists refer to them as training wheels for dentures. However, if a full denture is inevitable, there is nothing wrong with a set of training wheels first. In carefully selected cases, partial dentures may be an attractive alternative to dental implants.