When someone loses a tooth, there are several options for replacing it. Here in Roseville and Granite Bay, many people can afford a fixed option for tooth replacement. One of the most common questions dentists get these days is whether a tooth should be replaced with an implant or a bridge. There is some debate in the dental community as to which is ultimately better. As with most things, each has advantages which means sometimes an implant is the better choice and sometimes a bridge is the better choice.
An implant is an artificial root, usually made of titanium, which is surgically placed into the jawbone. When the bone grows around it and is holding it tight, a crown can be placed on it, effectively replacing the tooth. The main advantages of an implant are:
-Nothing needs to be done to the teeth on either side of the missing tooth.
-Since it is not attached to the teeth on either side, it can be flossed like a natural tooth.
-You never have to worry about getting decay on an implant (but it is possible to get something like gum disease, or bone loss, around an implant).
A bridge involves preparing the teeth on either side for crowns. Then a bridge is made of crowns to cover those teeth with a false tooth attached between them. The main advantages of a bridge are:
-No surgeries are involved.
-Less expensive than implants (and dental insurance coverage is better than for implants).
-Can be completed in a few weeks, rather than several months.
Other factors to consider include:
-Do adjacent teeth already have large fillings or crowns on them?
-Is there any bone loss (gum disease) around the adjacent teeth?
-Is the bone thick and dense enough for an implant?
-Do you have a high cavity rate?
Both implants and bridges have high success rates. Our job as dentists is to present the options and to lay out the pros/cons of each option so that you can decide which makes the most sense for your mouth. Then, the choice is yours!