Those who have a missing tooth have likely heard a lot about the effects of missing teeth and replacement options. Replacing a missing tooth is more than just improving the smile’s appearance. To fully get the importance of tooth replacement, it is crucial to understand the effects of leaving the tooth unreplaced. This article covers…
Missing Teeth Solution: Dental Bridges or Implants?
The ideal missing teeth solution takes into account the oral and general health of an individual patient. This is why a general dentist only recommends a course of treatment after exhaustive patient evaluation.
Dentists often recommend dental implants as a tooth replacement option for patients who are in relatively good oral health. Implants are popular because of their oral health benefits and the stability that they provide to artificial teeth.
Bridges are another popular treatment option that dentists recommend to patients with missing teeth. However, dentists prefer to recommend bridges to patients with gaps caused by several missing teeth. When a dentist presents both options, the question that follows is: “Which of the two is the better option?”
How a dentist crafts the perfect missing teeth solution for their patient
Every patient has their own unique set of circumstances. A person who loses a tooth to injury has different needs compared to a patient who suffers from severe gum disease. Chances are high that the patient with the injury has a solid jawbone that can support a dental implant. If the patient is willing, the dentist will put in an implant-supported restoration.
Then there is the patient who is unwilling or unable to undergo dental implant surgery. If this patient has healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth, the dentist will recommend a bridge.
At the end of the day, each treatment option has its benefits and limitations. The following sections go into more detail.
About dental bridges
Like the name suggests, this type of dental prosthetic bridges the gap left by one or more lost teeth. A dental bridge gets its support from the teeth on either side of the gap. Three parts make up a bridge.
The first is the pontic, or artificial tooth/teeth. This is the part that sits in the gap left by the missing teeth. The second is the abutment, or support, for the bridge. This takes the form of dental crowns. In some cases, the dentist will put the crowns on natural teeth that flank the gap. These adjacent teeth become anchors for the abutments.
Advantages are that:
- The installation of a dental bridge is fairly non-invasive
- Dental bridges are fixed in place, which makes them permanent
- A dental bridge takes the pressure off the teeth on either side of the gap
Disadvantages are that:
- An ill-fitting bridge could cause tooth decay in adjacent teeth
- Dentists have to remove a layer of enamel from healthy teeth in order to accommodate the abutments that keep the bridge in place
- The section of the jaw where the pontic sits remains without a tooth root and may begin to lose bone mass
Dental implants are small biocompatible rods that go in the jawbone. They are artificial tooth roots that work just like natural roots. As such, they stimulate the regeneration of bone tissue, which goes a long way in maintaining the mass, density and shape of the jawbone.
Implants are versatile and offer support to all kinds of dental restorations and prosthetics, including bridges. The only downside to a dental implant is oral surgery, which some patients are unwilling or unable to undergo.
Implant-supported dental bridge
A dental bridge can replace several missing teeth at once. Instead of using healthy teeth as support for the bridge abutment, a dentist may choose to install dental implants on both ends of the gap. This configuration allows dental implants to support the abutments that attach to the bridge.
Get a solution that works just for you
You can enjoy a full smile once more. Get started by contacting us today. Our dentist will use their experience to find a missing teeth solution that meets all your needs.
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