When trying to solve the problem of whether or not to replace a tooth with a bridge or an implant, a lot of questions come up on what option works best for you. While your dentist can recommend a good option for you, the best option for replacing a missing tooth is getting an implant.
Implants offer a variety of benefits from being able to retain your natural face shape, to giving you a long-term solution to your oral health. While generally more costly than a bridge, an implant is as close as you can get to getting your natural tooth back.
Just like your natural tooth
An implant essentially replaces the missing tooth. A small metal post is placed into the jaw and the porcelain crown is fitted on top of the post. The porcelain crown is matched with your natural tooth color and can have the same strength and durability as a natural tooth. Because the implant will fuse to the jawbone there can be no slippage or squeaks, and the jaw will not decay because the implant will encourage bone growth.
Bridges require that a portion of the healthy tooth is removed from the teeth surrounding the gap. Then the bridge is fitted and the missing tooth is simply covered up by a bridge. Bridges are decent options for people who do not have strong enough bone tissue to allow for an implant, but a dental implant will give you the best and closest to natural results you can hope for.
The procedure to get an implant is an outpatient surgery that is performed in a number of stages. The first step is to prepare the jaw to accept the implant which may require a bone graft is the jaw is not thick enough or too soft. After the jawbone heals from the graft, the metal implant post is placed into the jaw. The healing process may take months as the jaw begins to grow around the implant.
Finally, after the jaw has healed, the abutment is placed which then allows the crown to be mounted on the implant. Which type of crown you choose is dependant on what best suits you: a removable, fixed, or combination implant. Which works best for you is determined at the beginning of treatment by you and your doctor.
A long-term investment
While the process to get an implant may seem like quite the hassle and more pain than a bridge, you end up with a solution that will last you a lifetime. Bridges may have to be replaced, or the teeth around the gap will shift, necessitating a new bridge. With an implant, you can be sure that you will be able to keep your natural smile for many years and decades to come.
The money you are investing not only helps you keep the aesthetic of your smile but the function of your jaw. With the implant, you will be able to chew, speak and smile just like how you were able to with your natural tooth. What could be better than that?
You get to keep your natural smile!
A bridge does not fill the gap left by a missing tooth, nor does it keep your remaining teeth in place. Over time, the jaw bone will actually decay where the missing tooth is, shifting all the rest of the teeth in your jaw around. This can dramatically change not only your smile but how your face looks as your jaw begins to change.
An implant can help prevent that from ever happening. The titanium implant post will actually root into the jaw, and the jaw will grow around it. This means that there will be no jaw decay, and your natural smile, and your natural face shape will be preserved.
Implants do not only offer a great option for replacing a missing tooth, but they actually help maintain the health of the whole jawbone. The remaining teeth do not shift around and instead allow your natural bite to stay very much the same as it was. You no longer have to worry about a shifting bite, and your teeth from not matching up with each other anymore.