A missing tooth can cause several problems. Gaps in your teeth can interfere with normal speaking and eating, or affect your self-image. Missing teeth can even cause the surrounding bone to lose structural integrity. Other teeth may also shift to fill the gap, becoming unstable and prone to decay.
It’s important to replace any missing teeth as soon as possible. The two primary options that will enable you to chew and speak normally are dental bridges and implants.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is an artificial tooth, known as a pontic, affixed permanently or semi-permanently to the two adjacent teeth. The most common method of attachment is a crown on each of the two anchor teeth, but your dentist may choose an alternative depending on your individual needs.
A dental bridge literally bridges the empty gap between teeth with one or more artificial teeth.
When is a bridge appropriate?
Possible uses of a bridge include:
- Filling a toothless gap between two natural teeth
- Replacing a tooth that has advanced decay or erosion
- Restoring teeth that have been ground down
- Replacing an older restoration that has been compromised
A patient can receive a bridge in nearly all instances where one to four adjacent teeth are missing. Bear in mind that attaching more than four pontics to a bridge can be dangerous for the anchor teeth.
How long do bridges last?
Dental bridges typically last for 5 to 15 years, although some last even longer. To get the longest life possible from your bridge, be sure to brush twice a day. You should also floss and use an antiseptic mouthwash daily.
How Is a Dental Implant Different From a Bridge?
A dental implant also replaces a missing tooth, but it attaches permanently to the underlying bone via a titanium screw. The screw acts as a replacement root, helping the patient to avoid bone loss in the jaw while keeping the pontic securely in place.
When is an implant appropriate?
Like a bridge, an implant can be used anywhere a tooth is missing or needs to be removed. Many people who are candidates for both procedures choose implants because of their stability and effectiveness at keeping the jawbone intact. Because bridges don’t attach to the jawbone, they still leave you vulnerable to bone loss.
Implants also allow the dentist to replace as many teeth as necessary. You may even be a candidate for a procedure known as all-on-four, in which a full lower or upper set of teeth is affixed to the jaw using only four screws.
How long do implants last?
With proper care, dental implants can last for a patient’s lifetime.
Dental Bridge vs. Implant: Which Is Right for You?
The only way to know whether you should get a bridge or an implant is to have a trained and experienced dentist examine your teeth.
Dr. Sharam Ghodsi has been performing implant and bridge procedures for more than 30 years. He can help you to decide which tooth replacement strategy is most appropriate for your needs, and perform that procedure safely and skillfully in his Las Vegas office.
Give Dr. Ghodsi a call today and find out how beautiful your smile can be.