Tooth loss is something that no one really wants to face, but when it happens it’s very real. Your life changes drastically when a tooth is lost, whether on accident, because of poor oral health, ro due to an extraction. It doesn’t how it happens, but it does matter what you do about it.
Treatment options for replacing lost teeth are few, with your options generally being a dental implant or a bridge. We see a lot of patients at New Albany Implants who are dealing with missing teeth, and many of them are unsure about their options: is there a best choice? Does more expensive mean better? Is a simple, time-tested method acceptable? Those are the sorts of questions we want to answer today – is there a best choice between crowns and implants?
Bridges: What Are They?
Both of your tooth replacement options end up doing the same thing: replacing a missing tooth. How they do it is very different, though.
Bridges have been around for a very long time, and up until the development of the implant they were the only real way to replace a missing tooth. A bridge consists of three false teeth. The two on the edges are abutment crowns that are cemented to the teeth on either side of the missing one. The middle tooth on your bridge is completely false: it simply “bridges” the gap between your other two healthy teeth.
Bridges have a number of good things about them: they’re relatively cheap, they restore function and appearance, and they last a long time. All of those are great reasons to get a bridge, but it’s the drawbacks that are more important to think about in this case.
While they are effective at restoring the look and function of a lost tooth, bridges don’t stop the most pressing issue that comes with missing teeth: bone loss. When you lose a tooth the bone that supported it is reabsorbed by your body. Over time this leads to looseness in the neighboring teeth and eventual loss of stability for them. A bridge may stabilize those neighbors but it doesn’t stop them from eventually coming loose!
Bridging The Gap Between Form And Function
Here’s where dental implants come in. Sure, bridges look good. And yes, they can last for a long time. But that doesn’t eliminate the concern over bone loss.
The longer you have your bridge the more at risk your teeth become for destabilization. You may even notice that your bridge tooth no longer sits snugly on your gums – that’s because the bone that was there is disappearing!
Dental implants restore a missing tooth and also stop bone loss dead in its tracks. You’ll be able to enjoy your smile without ever worrying about receding bone mass! Implants do this by actually replicating the function of your natural teeth with a titanium root. The false root is a short screw that is placed directly into your bone, where it fuses and forms an incredibly strong bond.
Once healed, usually in just a few short months, your implant is restored with a permanent crown. That means we also don’t need to ruin two healthy teeth to place it! The teeth neighboring your new implant will never be reshaped for a bridge: they’ll be completely independent!
So Which Choice Is The Best?
When it comes to long-lasting health, preservation of your teeth and bones, and long-term function you simply can’t beat a dental implant. We always recommend them to our patients suffering from tooth loss because they are so natural looking and feeling. Implants go a long way toward restoring the sense of “normal” that you had before losing a tooth – we want you to get back there easily and quickly. There’s no better way to do that than with a dental implant.
If you have any questions about restoring your lost teeth with a dental implant or a bridge we’re here to speak to you! The only way you can make the dental care choice that’s right for you is by finding out about all your options, how they work, and which one will make you happiest.
Never hesitate to contact our New Albany office with your dental care questions. You can reach us at (812) 945-7645 or you can request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!