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dental implant treatment offer to study

Dental implant treatment options

Your dentist will have several dental implant treatment options available. Finding the ‘best’ approach is unique for every person and will need to take your budget, condition, as well as your dentist’s capability into account.


Replacing a single tooth

There are many different treatment options for replacing a single tooth, all with their own set of specifications. To get an overview, see below two of the main categories:

Implant-Crown

This is a very aesthetically pleasing, functional (good for chewing and pronunciation) and durable solution. It requires surgery and the full treatment takes between three and nine months. Depending on the implant system and the patient’s condition, it may be possible to leave the practice on the day of the surgery with a fixed tooth.
Moreover, dental implants stimulate and preserve natural bone growth, which helps prevent bone loss [3]. Unlike a 3-unit bridge, an implant also stands on its own support without putting pressure on other teeth and therefore preserves them.

dental implant treatment options: single dental implant crown
Fig. 1: Single implant-crown

3-Unit Bridge

This is a very cost-effective prosthesis compared to the implant-crown and it can be done in one day. However, over years its cost is higher than an implant-based solution[22]. A bridge is also, not as aesthetically pleasing as an implant-crown and requires the healthy adjacent teeth to be worn down in order to accommodate it. Over time, the under-stimulation of bone leads to further bone loss and potentially additional tooth losses.

dental implant treatment options: 3-unit dental bridge zirconia
Fig. 2: 3-unit bridge
 ImplantBridge
Long-Term PerformanceLasting 15+ years Limited bone loss [1] [2]  Lasting 5-10 years Foreseeable bone resorption Higher risk of caries[3]
ComfortHigh Adapted brush & flossAcceptable Oral hygiene can be complicated
AppearanceBest possible aestheticsFunctional more than aesthetic (partly due to adjacent teeth preparation)[4] [5]
Procedure Duration3-6 monthsFew weeks
CostLong term cost-effective[6] [7] Rarely covered by insuranceShort term cost-effective Frequently covered by insurance

Replacing several teeth

There are many different treatment options for replacing several missing teeth, all with their own set of specifications. To get an overview, see below four of the main categories:

An Implant-Retained Bridge

This is when a prosthesis (bridge) is screwed onto implants. This solution is aesthetically pleasing, improves speech capacity, feels comfortable, and is very durable. Naturally, implant treatments require surgery, which affects the cost and takes some time until healing can be complete (approximately three to nine months).

2-unit implant bridge
Fig. 3: Implant-retained bridge
All-on-4 implant treatment
Fig. 4: All-on-4 implant-retained bridge

One efficient solution to treat fully edentulous patients is to use the All-on-4 technique which uses four (or more) implants per arch with a screwed bridge. The success of this solution lies in tilting the posterior implants. This allows patients to leave the practice the day of surgery with a fixed provisional implant-retained bridge.

Removable Partial or Full Denture

This is the most cost-effective option. A denture requires time to get used to, in particular when it’s on the lower jaw (mandibula). It does not stimulate the bone, but rather accelerates bone loss, especially when poorly fitted[18] It is greatly accentuated during the first year and continues over a 25-year period of time [19][20]. Drifting and loss of teeth affect the remaining teeth and facial symmetry. Comfort, function, speech, esthetics, self-image, and dental health are not as good as with an implant-based solution[21].

removable denture
Fig. 5: Removable full denture

Tooth-Based or Fixed Bridge

The cost of this solution lies somewhere between an implant-based and a removable denture system. However, over years its cost is higher than an implant-based solution[22]. This option is more comfortable than a removable solution, but not as long-lasting as an implant-based prosthesis. The bridge does not stimulate bone and leads to further bone resorption.

3-unit dental bridge zirconia
Fig. 6: Tooth-based bridge concept

Fixed-Removable Overdenture

Systems, such as ball- or locator-attached dentures, can be used for lower missing teeth and are based on a minimum of two implants having snap-able anchors for the denture. They offer better chewing and speech qualities than removable dentures, although some gum soreness can occur in the areas without anchors. This option is not as functional as an implant-retained bridge, as food can be trapped between the denture and the gum, which can cause discomfort. However, the patient can easily brush and clean the denture by removing it.

fixed-removable denture
Fig. 7: Fixed-removable denture on ball attachments
 Implant Fixed BridgeImplant-Supported OverdentureTooth-Based BridgeRemovable Denture
Long-Term PerformanceLasts 15+ years
Good speech quality
Limited bone loss [8]  
Risk of accelerated bone resorption[9] [10]  Lasts 5-10 years
Foreseeable bone resorption
Higher risk of caries[3]
Lasts 3-6 years
Continuous bone loss impacting facial structure (ageing) [11]
ComfortComfort like natural teeth
Adapted brush & floss
Medium[12] [13] due to frequent maintenance
Adaptation time required
Possible impact on speech
Remove for cleaning (for some solutions)
Food limitation  
Acceptable
Oral hygiene can be complicated
Low due to poor retention and stability [14] [15]
Adaptation time required
Remove for cleaning
Variable speech quality[16]
No surgery required
Food limitation
AppearanceBest possible aesthetics Acceptable aesthetics of prosthesisFunctional more than aesthetic (partly due to adjacent teeth preparation)[4] [5]Acceptable aesthetics of prosthesis
Risk of poor stability
Procedure Duration 3-6 months 3 – 6 monthsFew weeks Few weeks
CostLong term cost-effective [17] due to bone volume preservation
Rarely covered by insurance  
IntermediateShort term cost-effective
Frequently covered by insurance
Low cost  

Your expectations and satisfaction

satisfied patient after a dental implant treatment

The most important goal of any dental implant treatment is for you to be satisfied with the outcome. There are numerous studies [23][24][25][26] that show a significantly higher satisfaction level when choosing a dental implant treatment over other types of tooth replacement treatments (removable partial dentures and fixed partial dentures) [27]. These studies found a high level of satisfaction to mainly be dependent on (1) a positive clinical outcome and (2) meeting the patient’s expectations.

While the clinical outcome depends mostly on your dentist’s skills, developing realistic expectations in terms of outcome is essential for your satisfaction. This exercise is done together with your dentist by understanding the level of difficulty in addressing your indications. For example, the challenge might be so high that the treatment will require more time than you expected. To better frame your expectations, click here for some inspiration on useful questions to ask yourself and your dentist.

Some expectations may not be feasible and others may significantly influence the price. For example, if you want to get an outcome giving you the best appearance and quality level, this will hardly be possible within the shortest period of time.


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[27] Al-Quran FA, Al-Ghalayini RF, Al-Zu’bi BN. Single-tooth replacement: factors affecting different prosthetic treatment modalities. BMC Oral Health 2011;11:34.

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