To bridge or to implant? That is the question many people have when replacing a missing tooth or teeth. And, while fixed cemented bridges, have been the standard of excellent dental care for many years, new technology and knowledge associated with dental implants are rapidly closing the value gap between the two replacement options.
Compare the more traditional bridge solution and the implant alternative on issues of clinical indication, predictability, longevity and cost to find out what is best for you!
Frequently, severe decay, tooth fracture, and loss of gum and bone support lead to problems where root canal treatment has low probability of success and tooth removal is the best option. Do you find this fact surprising? It occurs more often than you might think. Unfortunately, long term consequences may result if lost teeth are not replaced:
- Embarrassment results when spaces and gaps from missing teeth show when smiling or speaking
- Teeth adjacent to gaps “drift”, causing loss of bite alignment, chewing difficulty and loss of lip and cheek support
- Teeth not replaced cause forces to increase on those teeth remaining, causing them to wear, crack and split
- Increased stress to the jaw joint and chewing muscles causes headaches and facial pain
- Tilted teeth create spaces where food and plaque get trapped, leading to further tooth decay and gum disease
Bottom line is that beauty, comfort, function and stability are compromised, while psychological, social and medical health deteriorates.
These days, you never have to go down this road! Traditional fixed bridges and newer implant options offer solutions to these problems that are aesthetic, predictable, and affordable. But, which one is best for you?
Implant supported crowns have the feel and appearance most like natural teeth. Implants are the perfect tooth replacement option when remaining mouth conditions are optimal or made optimal by grafting. Because dental implants are artificial root replacements, the crowns they support remain independent of natural teeth. Only the spaces where teeth are missing are treated. Personal oral hygiene around an implant is as easy as around a natural tooth. Implants do not decay and are more resistant to gum disease!
The key to successful implants lies in initial diagnosis and planning. Clinical examination and our use of Galileos 3D Scanning are essential for precision location your dental implants. Galileos technology makes implant placement and restoration less complex, time efficient and more cost effective, yielding predictable long term results.
A Fixed Bridge Tooth Replacement
Suppose the teeth adjacent to the missing one have large corroded fillings with recurrent decay and the 3D Scan shows inadequate bone for an implant supported crown. Then what?
With gum and bone addition techniques available today, an implant supported crown can still be done once additional bone has been grafted to improve the site where the implant goes. Grafting is an additional step and though it adds additional time and expense, it may be well worth the effort to have implant support. To keep future expenses as low as possible and your options open for implants, bone graft treatment is best done at the time a broken down tooth is removed!
So…the teeth on each side of the space need help. “What else can be done so I have fixed teeth? I want to be able to chew, look better and I don’t want anything removable.”
The solution is a fixed cemented bridge supported by crowns on natural teeth! With a conventional fixed bridge, the teeth with ailing restorations adjacent to the space are beautifully refurbished. The missing tooth gap is filled with a replacement suspended just above the gum tissue between the two crowns. Advances in dental porcelains and ceramics make the fixed bridge option as aesthetic and natural looking as ever. Where implants require a longer time frame for the process, tooth replacement with fixed bridges can be completed start to finish inside of a month. Thus the overall fees for a fixed bridge tend to be slightly less when compared to an implant solution.
Replace Your Missing Teeth
Implant and General Dentistry of Vermont is pleased to help you clarify your goals, use 3D Galileos x-ray diagnostics to fully understand your clinical condition and identify the right path and economics to keep you from suffering consequences of tooth loss!
When you are ready, take an important step forward by replacing your missing teeth. You will be pleased with your decision to recapture the oral health you once enjoyed !