There are all sorts of reasons why people can end up with a missing tooth or two. Luckily, if you’ve got missing teeth, there are a couple of restorative options available. The most common options to replace one or more missing teeth are either the use of a dental bridge or dental implants. Here we look at both options, describing the procedure, as well as detailing the pros and cons of each.
Dental implants consist of three parts – an implant post, the abutment and a crown or prosthesis. If a dental assessment shows that an implant would be a good option, the work is completed in a few stages. In the first instance, the implant post, usually made of titanium, is sunk down into the jawbone. This part of the process is a surgical procedure and will require between four and six months to heal. A temporary healing abutment may be inserted at the same time as the implant. A permanent abutment will be inserted later. Once the abutment is in place, a crown is fixed onto the top of it and the implant is complete.
Pros and cons of dental implants
Once healing has finished, dental implants are almost impossible to distinguish from natural teeth. They are also cared for in the same way as natural teeth. In most cases, a dental implant will last 20 years or more, providing a long-term restoration option.
Dental implants aren’t suitable for everybody, particularly people suffering from bone density issues, gum disease or some chronic health problems. The implant post insertion is invasive (a surgical procedure). In addition, implants are a relatively expensive restoration choice.
Dental bridges consist of one or more false teeth (prostheses) that are fastened to adjoining teeth, usually with dental cement. To fit a traditional bridge, the dentist pares down the teeth on either side of the gap and then fits them each with a crown. The prosthetic tooth sits between the two crowns.
During the initial appointment, following assessment, the teeth will be prepared for the bridge, impressions will be taken and a temporary bridge will be fitted. Once the permanent bridge is ready, the temporary one will be removed at a second appointment and the new, custom-made bridge cemented into place.
Pros and cons of bridges
Bridges are usually cheaper than implants. The procedure to fit a bridge is non-invasive and widely tolerated. Bridges can be cared for in the same way as natural teeth.
The main disadvantage of a bridge is preparation(cutting)of the “anchor teeth” (the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth/teeth). Also a bridge, on average, only lasts around ten years before it needs replacing.
If you’re not sure which type of restoration is going to be best or have any queries about bridges or implants, contact the experienced, friendly dental team at Pain Free Dental Clinic for an appointment and/or further information.