When it comes to replacing a missing tooth, a dental implant is a gold standard. However, there are many times in which a dental implant is not the best alternative for tooth loss, and a fixed dental bridge may be the superior choice.
If you have one or more missing teeth, it can be easy to develop oral health issues beyond tooth decay and periodontal disease. Here are a few instances where a patient may be better off choosing a dental bridge over a dental implant.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a fixed oral appliance that attaches to the remaining healthy teeth surrounding a gap to create a bridge effect across space where a missing tooth is. In general, the two abutment teeth on opposite sides of a gap are shaved down to accommodate a dental bridge. A cap is then cemented into place over each tooth to create an anchor system with a bridge effect.
How Bridges Differ From Implants
Dental implants are posts made from screws or cylinders that are surgically inserted through your gum into the jawbone. A prosthetic tooth is then mounted onto the post. Dental implants can take the place of a natural tooth while preventing issues commonly associated with a dental gap.
Situations When a Bridge is Best
When You Need It Quickly
The entire dental implant process can take anywhere from 3-8 months to complete. This is necessary to ensure proper healing before moving on to the next step in the treatment, and little can be done to rush the process. A dental bridge can typically be completed in three weeks or less – even if you need to have a tooth extracted.
When Your Budget Is Tight
A single dental implant can cost several thousands of dollars. While most would agree that the cost of an implant is worth it in the long run, it can be a financial concern for many. A dental bridge typically costs under $1000 after using dental insurance, which leads to many deciding to proceed with a bridge.
When There Is a Bone Defect
If there is a pre-existing bone defect in the jawline, the success rate for an implant is significantly decreased. The area can typically be augmented with additional surgical procedures such as a bone graft, but this may not be possible in every situation.
When Other Teeth Have Shifted
If a patient has been missing a tooth for years, neighboring teeth tend to drift or tilt into the open space. There may not be enough space for a dental implant without the help of braces. A bridge can be used to reshape the tilted teeth while also replacing a missing tooth.
When You’re Not Old Enough For a Tooth Implant
The dental implant process requires a fully developed jaw, so in general, a dental implant patient must be at least 17 or 18 years old to be considered a candidate. This reference point has more to do with the jaw line’s development and less to do with an exact age, so this number may vary.
Finding The Best Option For Your Smile
The most essential thing you can do to ensure you find the right treatment option for replacing a missing tooth is to talk with your dentist about your options and what suits you best. Your dentist can assist in weighing all of the specific considerations of your situation to help make the best choice for your smile. Premier Dental Center is here to help you find the ideal solution for a missing tooth in your smile. Call us today to schedule a consultation.