There are multiple options for people who need to replace a missing tooth. Your dentist may allow you to choose a dental implant or a dental bridge. However, a dental implant may be the preferred option. Here are a few reasons why:
Once a dental implant is in place, it helps stimulate your jawbone. This stimulation is important to prevent bone loss.
A natural dental root stimulates the bone as pressure is placed on the crown of the tooth when a person chews. Since the implant screw is fused inside the jawbone, stimulation from a dental implant acts in the same manner.
With a dental bridge, a false tooth is suspended in the center of the bridge to replace the tooth that was lost. The jawbone receives no pressure or stimulation at the extraction site.
No Damage to Adjacent Teeth
The placement of a dental implant generally requires no damage to neighboring teeth. The surgical insertion of the implant screw, abutment placement and installation of a crown are localized to the gap left by the missing tooth.
A dental bridge, on the other hand, includes two dental crowns. One crown is on each side of the false tooth to provide stabilizing support. Still, in order for the bridge to be placed, the natural teeth that will serve as bridge supports must be shaved down or debrided so that the crowns can fit comfortably over the teeth. If the tooth material of the crown teeth were to be left fully intact, the crowns would extend beyond the natural tooth alignment of the patient.
A dental implant is designed to remain in place for a lifetime. Nevertheless, the implant patient should care for his or her teeth and gums properly to avoid gum disease or dental infections that could compromise the implant. In addition, people with dental implants should avoid smoking and heavy drinking, and if they are diabetic, they should try to ensure that their blood sugar remains stable.
A dental bridge is expected to last between five and 15 years. Although this is a considerable amount of time, it is not a lifetime.
If you have a missing tooth, you may be given the opportunity to choose your tooth replacement appliance. To learn which options may be suitable for you, schedule an appointment with a dentist in your area. He or she can assess the condition of your mouth and determine what may work best.
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