Most dentists agree that the best way to replace a missing tooth is with a dental bridge or a dental implant. To decide what is right for you, it’s important to think through the pros and cons of each option. Read on as Longmont dentist Amy Farmer explains the factors you should consider when making this decision.
How Dental Implants Work
A dental implant is a small titanium post that acts as a tooth root. The post is surgically placed in the jawbone, where it fully integrates with the bone. Once the post and bone have healed, a false tooth is attached to the top of the post and it rests on the gumline.
Pros of Dental Implants
Because implants are anchored in the jawbone, they are incredibly strong. The posts help keep the jawbone stimulated and prevent it from deteriorating. The false teeth attached to the tops of the implant posts look, feel and function similarly to natural teeth. Implants can stand on their own without needing any strength or support from the surrounding teeth; this helps preserve the long-term health of the surrounding teeth. Implants are very low-maintenance and can last indefinitely with brushing and flossing.
Cons of Dental Implants
The candidacy requirements for dental implants are slightly stricter than those of dental bridges, as the placement is more invasive. The placement requires surgery to place the post in the jawbone, and there are risks associated with surgery. The entire placement process can take several months and require multiple office visits. Also, implants generally require more of a financial investment than dental bridges (although they last longer).
How Dental Bridges Work
Dental bridges close the gap left by a missing tooth by attaching to the teeth surrounding the gap. A traditional bridge is comprised of two dental crowns, which fit over the teeth adjacent to the gap and bookend a false tooth that fits into the gap. Unlike implants, bridges are not attached to the jawbone and do not replace the roots of the teeth.
Pros of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges require fewer appointments and less time to place than dental implants. They are also less expensive. Bridges are designed to look exactly like the surrounding teeth in shape, size and color, so they should blend in seamlessly.
Cons of Dental Bridges
Placing a bridge requires permanently altering the teeth surrounding the gap, which can compromise their strength and long-term health. Because bridges aren’t attached to the jawbone, the bone beneath the gap can deteriorate over time. Also, bridges tend to wear down periodically and require replacement every few years.
Contact Dr. Amy Farmer
Dr. Farmer can help find the tooth replacement that is best for you. For more information, please call or email Crossroads Dental of Longmont today.