The alternatives for replacing one or more teeth are to make a bridge over your own teeth or molars, an acid-etched bridge, a frame prosthesis or plastic plate dentures.
Bridge over your own teeth or molars
When making a bridge on the adjacent teeth around 1½ mm of dental tissue has to be removed in order to create the space for the bridge. This is only a good solution if there is a reason anyway for fitting crowns on the adjacent teeth, for example because the adjacent teeth have large fillings that could break off if no crown was fitted. In this case a condition is that the supports have to be sufficiently strong to be able to carry the bridge. A bridge is not normally lost because it is worn but because something has happened to the underlying teeth (inflammation, fracture, tooth decay). In that case an implant treatment is still necessary.
And acid-etched bridge is a tooth that is bonded to the chewing surfaces of the adjacent teeth using wings. Approximately 1mm of space is required on the chewing surface in order to fit an acid-etched bridge. If the teeth or molars are nicely close together it is necessary to remove 1mm of enamel from the adjacent teeth in order to create this space. An associated disadvantage is that these bridges occasionally come loose and show through the tooth. In some cases an acid-etched bridge is a good (semi-permanent) solution.
A frame prosthesis is a removable arrangement onto which one or more teeth or molars are fitted. The prosthesis is held in place using small hooks that are pushed around the remaining teeth or molars. Research has shown that even when patients have excellent oral hygiene, wearing a frame prosthesis can cause increased plaque formation in the mouth. This arrangement can be worn as a temporary solution for aesthetic purposes during the implant healing process or is often used during a transition phase to a full set of dentures. If removability and wear comfort is not a problem making a frame prosthesis (often in conjunction with fitting crowns) can offer a satisfactory solution. The jaw under the saddle of the frame will become sunken more quickly due to the pressure that is placed on the jaw.
Plastic plate dentures
Plastic plate dentures are removable (partial) prostheses whereby the palate is covered with a plastic plate. This arrangement can be worn as a temporary solution for aesthetic purposes during the implant healing process or is often used during a transition phase to a full set of dentures. These arrangements do not generally function as desired in the lower jaw.