Alternatives to Dental Implants

Despite our best efforts to prevent tooth loss, issues such as poor gum health, age, and injuries can all lead to a missing tooth or teeth.

Dental implants are a popular solution for achieving a natural-looking smile after losing a tooth or multiple teeth, but many patients are hesitant to get dental implants because they are unsure what the procedure entails, or worried about the cost of dental surgery.

Our dentists are highly trained in all aspects of implant dentistry, but we understand that some patients would prefer an alternative option. Depending on your oral health and desired results, you may be able to use one of the alternatives to dental implants mentioned below.

Interested in dental implant alternatives? Contact our Ann Arbor, MI dental office for a no-pressure consultation.

Request an appointment.

How do dental implants work?

Dental implants use a titanium post in the jawbone to hold a custom crown, which fills the gap from your missing tooth. The dental implant procedure is a multi-step process:

  1. If the bone height and width are not optimal, the first step would be to build bone by bone grafting.
  2. A titanium implant post (abutment) is placed and left for roughly four months to heal and integrate with the jaw bone.
  3. The abutment is uncovered so your dentist can make an impression for your crown.
  4. Once the crown has been made,  you return for your final appointment to have the crown cemented in place.

What are alternatives to dental implants?

There are three common alternatives to dental implants: a crown, a bridge, or a denture.


A dental crown is a “fixed prosthetic device” that can be used to replace a missing tooth. Unlike a dental implant, a crown does not have a “root,” so some part of the existing, natural tooth is needed for this procedure.

The porcelain crowns we use at our Ann Arbor dental office are highly refined and fabricated in a local lab, ensuring that only the finest materials are used.


A bridge is used to span the gap(s) between missing teeth by anchoring the replacement tooth to the surrounding teeth or implants. This procedure is typically used as an alternative to dental implants when a patient has multiple missing teeth and needs to support a new arch of teeth.

At DGY Dentistry, we use porcelain bridges to achieve a beautiful and natural-looking smile. A great deal of attention is given to making them fit nicely and naturally around the gums.

Partial or Complete Dentures

The American Dental Association defines dentures as “removable appliances that can replace missing teeth and help restore your smile”. Both full and partial dentures can be used as alternatives to dental implants.

  • Similar to a bridge, a partial denture is used to bridge a gap between existing teeth. A partial denture can be attached to a bar for easy removal and cleaning, or be solidly fixed in place and shaped so the patient can clean underneath it.
  • A complete denture is used when no natural teeth are remaining.

Alternatives to Dental Implants – FAQs

What is the best alternative to dental implants?

The best alternative to dental implants will depend on your personal oral health. Your dentist can help determine whether an alternative is appropriate and which dental procedure will be most effective for your health, lifestyle, and desired smile.

At DGY Dentistry Ann Arbor, we pride ourselves in clearly communicating your procedures and choices with no-pressure consultations. We employ an artistic and compassionate approach to maximize your outward appearance, inward health, and overall confidence.

Is there a cheaper alternative to dental implants? What is the cheapest way to replace a missing tooth?

Dentures are typically the cheapest alternative to dental implants. Your dentist can evaluate your existing oral health to determine the cheapest way to replace a missing tooth.

Our Ann Arbor dental office provides transparent payment options and can work with your insurance company to get estimates for your dental procedure(s).

How can I replace my teeth without implants?

A crown, bridge, or dentures can potentially be used to replace your teeth if you do not want to use dental implants.

What if I don’t want a dental implant?

If you don’t want the dental implant your dentist is recommending, you can get a second opinion on whether or not an alternative will work. Not replacing the tooth at all can cause alignment issues and further damage your oral health.

Learn more about dental implant alternatives

Request an appointment to learn more about alternatives to dental implants in a no-pressure consultation.

Interested in learning more about Prosthodontics / Dental Prosthetics?

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