The dental implant consists of implanting an artificial root in the bone to replace a missing tooth. This artificial root has a pillar on which the dental surgeon directly affixes a prosthesis. It is an intervention that requires several appointments to prepare the patient. But in the vast majority of cases, it does not present any particular complication. If the benefits of dental implants are beyond doubt, why look for an alternative? This is mainly because of contraindications directly related to the patient’s health condition.
Indeed, in patients with diabetes, hemophilia or with blood circulation problems, the placement of a dental implant is not recommended. Ditto for patients treated for osteoporosis and suffering from cardiac pathologies (cardiomyopathy or valvulopathy). Some cancer treatments are also incompatible with the placement of a dental implant. Finally, other factors may play a role, such as regular tobacco consumption which would increase the risk of implantology failure. We should also add that implantology is not recommended in children whose maxillary growth is not complete.
Moreover, since the dental implant consists of artificially filling a missing tooth, it is also necessary to cite the case of an insufficient quantity or quality of bone . Indeed, the bone that surrounds a missing tooth can quickly lose its substance, thus complicating the chances of success of the implant. If bone grafting remains possible, it is a heavy and restrictive intervention, especially when it comes to replacing a single missing tooth. Most implant dentists will prefer to avoid it. Thus, for more success, the dental implant must intervene quickly after the loss of the tooth. Otherwise, it is better to turn to other options.
Alternative to the dental implant: to each patient, his solution
When the placement of a dental implant is not possible or desirable, the patient has other solutions:
- An interdental bridge, or ” bridge “, a fixed prosthesis at an attractive price and which does not require any operation. It is a sort of false tooth supported by two crowns, on either side of the vacant space. This bridge attaches to both sides of the missing tooth(s). It is a discreet solution, the artificial teeth perfectly imitating the appearance of natural teeth. The implementation is fast and provides a very satisfactory aesthetic result.
- A cantilever bridge , or extension bridge in French, which only attaches to one side of the tooth. This solution is especially suitable for replacing the teeth at the end of a dental arch, with a single neighboring tooth.
- The dental stellite , partial prosthesis, semi-removable, held by hooks on the other teeth.
- The simple partial and removable dental prosthesis , the most economical solution but also the least aesthetic (the hooks being visible). This solution is tending to disappear but remains preferred by some patients because of its very affordable cost. The removable prosthesis is custom designed after taking impressions of the mouth. Recognized for its stability, this treatment is also suitable for patients with an edentulous space without the possibility of support by neighboring teeth. In this case, the dental bridge is therefore not an option.
Dental implant, bridge or removable prosthesis, the important thing is to find a suitable solution to fill the missing teeth. More than a question of aesthetics, it’s a question of comfort and well-being. For patients, the edentulous space is often synonymous with difficulty chewing or even speaking. Ultimately, an untreated missing tooth can weaken oral health and cause wear or even misalignment of other teeth.