Individuals who have lost one or several teeth have a few choices for how to handle this problem. The first choice, which is to do nothing, is not recommended. For many decades, the primary approach to tooth loss was to replace the missing tooth or teeth with a dental bridge. Today, there is a different option worth considering: dental implants.
Dental bridge or implant, a big difference
Replacing missing teeth with a conventional bridge may seem like an acceptable path, one that is proven and affordable. In this process, an appliance is custom made based on a model of existing dentition around the missing tooth. The two teeth adjacent to the gap are prepared by reducing them. This step is necessary whether teeth are completely healthy, have existing dental work, or are in need of repair. In our minds, and in research, removing healthy tooth structure poses significant risk to the look and overall health of the smile. If we can avoid it, we do.
The placement of a dental bridge fills the gap of a missing tooth. Beneath the area, however, bone loss still occurs due to the absence of a root. This bone loss can affect the teeth that anchor the bridge appliance because the recession of bone will expand into this area. Teeth that are crowned are also susceptible to cavities, which are difficult to detect beneath the crown. These small areas of damage can eventually lead to infection in and around the root canal, leading to the need for root canal therapy or extraction.
The effects of these types of secondary problems can lead to the need for revisions, specifically the expansion of the dental bridge. The more the bridge is expanded, the more bone will break down. In the end, this form of treatment can create a domino effect that leads to continued tooth loss.
Dental implants are used to replace one or several teeth. These prosthetics do not sit on top of the gums or require the modification of two otherwise healthy teeth for the stabilization of the artificial tooth or teeth. Implants are situated into the jawbone, which replicates the natural oral structure. Replacing roots with implants, and topping those implants with a beautiful restoration leads to a natural look and feel that lasts a lifetime. Bone loss is stopped, and healthy teeth are preserved.
Tooth loss should not lead to a lifetime of dental problems, and it doesnt have to when dental implant treatment is received. Contact our Bay Area implant center at (510) 338-4490 for your consultation with an experienced implant specialist.