What are the alternatives to dental implants?

Dental implants provide the modern treatment method for replacing badly damaged or missing teeth. Whether in terms of aesthetics, functionality or durability, it’s hard to find a restorative treatment that can outperform dental implants. However, as with any other treatment, dental implants are not for everyone.

Not only are dental implants more expensive, the treatment is not suitable if you are:

  • over the age of 60
  • have undergone chemotherapy for cancer treatment
  • have low bone density
  • have poorly controlled diabetes
  • drink alcohol excessively
  • a heavy smoker.

If dental implants are not for you, you may wish to consider other teeth-replacement options.


Dentures typically consisting of an acrylic base (mimicking the gum tissue) attached to artificial teeth that are made either of porcelain or plastic. They are prescribed in cases when you are missing either a row of several teeth or an entire row, rather than for a single missing tooth.

If you have significant erosion of the gum and jaw line, dental procedures such as crowns and implants are generally not recommended. In such cases, dentures may be your best bet.

Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth in order to fabricate a set of teeth that are molded based on the shape of your mouth. The dentures are affixed in place with the use of a special type of adhesive.

Dentures that are used to replace all of the teeth are known as Complete Dentures. They are held in position by suction, thus forming a seal to the gums.

The type of dentures recommended for patients who still have some remaining teeth are known as “partials” or “removable partial denture prostheses”. These are typically used when the remaining natural teeth are not strong enough to support a bridge.

Held in place by clasps and rests fitted around the natural teeth, partial dentures fill the gap caused by missing teeth and prevent the other natural teeth from shifting position. Partials may be removed for cleaning or sleep.

Dental bridge

A dental bridge is a custom-made, permanently fixed, restorative device recommended for patients who are missing one or more teeth. Anchored to the adjacent teeth flanking the area where the teeth are missing, a dental bridge relies on the strength of these teeth to hold the prosthetic tooth or teeth firmly in position – thus filling or ‘bridging’ the gap.

A dental bridge may be made from several types of materials, including: porcelain and metal, as well as, stronger materials such as zirconia and alumina. Here are the three main types of dental bridges available:

Fixed Bridge: This type of bridge fills the gap by connecting an artificial tooth between two dental crowns. The crowns are used anchoring the bridge cemented to the adjacent teeth of the gap.

Maryland Bridge: Also known as a resin bonded bridge, this is usually used on anterior (front) teeth due to less loading pressure in the anterior region, as opposed to the posterior region (back teeth). The Maryland bridge features metal or porcelain wings that are attached to the artificial tooth, bonded to the adjacent teeth on either side of the gap.

Cantilever Bridge: Similar to the fixed bridge, this is permanently bonded, however only to an adjacent tooth, as opposed to bonding to both sides of the gap. It’s mainly used when there aren’t teeth on both sides of the gapped area.


Just like dental implants, neither dentures nor dental bridges are designed for everyone. They all have specific strengths that make them more suitable for different patients with different set of dental needs and circumstances.

Before making a decision, you should consult a dentist who can help to make informed recommendations based on your individual situation.

Are you a suitable candidate for dental implants? Don’t worry if the answer is ‘no’! We can offer other solutions to meet your specific needs and budget.

Book an appointment with our friendly and experienced Cosmetic Dental Team by calling North Sydney Dental Practice at 02 8074 5386.

North Sydney Dental Practice
Suite 201, Level 2, 83 Mount Street, North Sydney NSW 2060
02 9922 1476

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Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding with a surgical or invasive procedure, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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