There are two excellent treatment options to choose from when you lose a tooth. Both the bridge and the dental implant are long-lasting solutions that look like natural teeth. Both of these options work very well to fill in space where a tooth is missing. There is no right or wrong choice. They are just two very different choices. To find out more about these options, call Dr. Root at Root Dental for a personal consultation.
FIXED (TOOTH SUPPORTED) BRIDGE
The fixed cemented bridge is supported and cemented to the teeth on either side of the tooth space. Fixed bridges are a resourceful way to fill in space where a tooth (or teeth) are missing. Fixed dental bridges are constructed in one piece. The two teeth on either side of the missing tooth are prepared to receive crowns, and a false tooth, or pontic, is connected to the two crowns that fit on the adjacent teeth. The illustration shows how the false tooth is attached to the crowns. The bridge will have all the beauty and translucency of your natural teeth and, with regular care, can last for many years.
The prosthesis requires that two teeth be prepared to receive crowns, and placement can usually be completed in two appointments. This procedure is all done in Dr. Root’s office, Root Dental; is non-invasive (no surgery); and is approximately 20% more inexpensive than the implant-supported crown. In addition, there is no need for the associated healing time, so the bridge can normally be completed in three to four weeks. The disadvantage is that the fixed or cemented bridge is dependent upon the strength and longevity of the teeth to which it is cemented.
A dental implant is a titanium root form that is surgically placed in the jawbone by an oral surgeon or periodontist. During recovery, the body brings more bone-building minerals to the site, integrating the root form and making it part of the jawbone. After this healing period, the patient would then come into Root Dental to have Dr. Root get a final impression of the implant. From this final impression, a custom abutment and a crown are fabricated and a few weeks later Dr. Root will cement the crown to the abutment and implant. The illustration to the right shows the implant replacing the tooth root as well as the crown. Dental implants can be used to replace one or many teeth. In fact, they can anchor an entire upper or lower arch of dentures, solving many of the problems people encounter with dentures.
The implant-supported crown requires having an implant surgically placed in the toothless location by an oral surgeon or a periodontist. The site then needs to heal or ‘integrate’ for three to four months. After this healing period, the patient would then come into Root Dental to have Dr. Root get a final impression of the implant. From this final impression, a crown abutment and a crown are fabricated and a few weeks later Dr. Root will cement the crown to the abutment and implant.
The biggest advantage to the implant-supported crown option is that the crown is fully supported by the implant and is not dependent on any natural teeth. The crown is not dependent on the strength or longevity of the natural teeth and there is no preparation or trimming down of any of the teeth required. An additional advantage is that the presence of an implant will keep the bone beneath it strong and healthy, stopping the process of bone loss that begins when we lose a tooth. This will prevent the sunken appearance in the gum line that can develop without a tooth root in place. This is the longest-lasting, strongest option to fill in space where a tooth was lost. Implant-supported crowns can last for years and years.
The disadvantages of implant-supported crowns are that it can take four to five months to restore, surgical placement of the implant is required at an oral surgeon or periodontist’s office, and it is approximately 20% more expensive than a tooth supported fixed bridges.
If the teeth on either side of the missing tooth have loose fillings and/or cracks and need crowns anyway, a dental bridge may be the most affordable and least invasive choice. However, if those teeth are healthy, Dr. Root would likely recommend a dental implant.
When you’re ready to find out how a bridge or implant can restore your beautiful smile, give us a call at Root Dental or request an appointment online.