When you lose one or more teeth due to an accident or an extraction, your first order of business is to replace them as soon as possible. The health of your jaw, your other teeth, and the function of your bite, all depend on a full set of teeth, helping to keep one another in perfect alignment.
Whether you need to replace just one tooth or several teeth, your two best choices are either a dental bridge or a dental implant. Which is better for you depends on several factors. The following questions may help you decide whether a dental bridge or a dental implant is best for you.
Do you want “your” tooth back?
While you can’t re-grow your missing tooth, if you’d like a replacement system that looks and functions almost exactly like a real tooth, a dental implant is your clear choice. Each implant is individually crafted and placed to mimic the look, feel, and function of a natural tooth -- from root to crown. Dental implants consist of:
- An artificial “root,” (i.e., a titanium post that’s secured into your jawbone)
- A natural-looking porcelain crown (i.e., a false tooth)
- An abutment cap that joins the root and crown
A dental lab individually custom-crafts each implant as a discrete tooth. Each artificial root is separately inserted into your gum and down into your alveolar bone. The titanium post then fuses with your jawbone, so it’s held as securely as a real tooth.
The entire implant process may take several months to complete, especially if we need to build up your jawbone with a bone graft. Your mouth needs to heal completely between each step.
Dental implants aren’t just the most attractive option, they’re also the most functional tooth replacement. The artificial root stresses and puts pressure on your jawbone when you chew, which triggers the production of new bone cells. Dental implants prevent jawbone atrophy, unlike dentures or a bridge.
Would you rather avoid surgery?
Although implants have many advantages, one disadvantage is that they do require oral surgery. If you’d prefer to avoid surgery and opt-in for a fast and easy tooth replacement, a dental bridge may be ideal.
A dental bridge consists of a false tooth or series of false teeth, depending on how many you’re missing. The false teeth are spanned on either end by an empty crown.
To place the dental bridge, we modify and grind down the teeth that sit on either end of the gap caused by your missing teeth. These teeth are referred to as abutment teeth.
We then place the spanning crowns on the dental bridge to fit over your abutment teeth and hold your bridge securely in place. The lab custom shapes and colors the crowns and false teeth to match your natural teeth, so nobody can tell you were once missing teeth.
Are you watching costs right now?
Dental implants cost more than bridges, at first. That cost can be significantly more if you have to replace more than one tooth.
Over the long term, however, dental implants might cost you less. Implants usually last longer than bridges and so don’t need to be replaced as often. If you have budgetary concerns, talk to us about which system is most cost-effective for you and what payment plans may be available.
Do you want insurance to pay?
If you have dental insurance, you’re more likely to get reimbursed for a dental bridge than for a dental implant. Some insurance companies cover the cost of functional-only tooth replacements, such as dentures and bridges.
However, insurance companies typically regard dental implant surgery as a cosmetic procedure. Therefore, they don’t reimburse it. However, we can arrange payment plans so that you get the tooth replacement of your choice.
Get back to your full and functional smile by replacing your missing tooth or teeth with beautiful, custom-designed, and natural-looking dental bridges or dental implants. Call our staff or send us a message today.