Dental Implants or a Bridge?
Once a tooth has been lost, there are basically three ways to restore it:
with a bridge,
with an implant and crown,
with a removable partial denture.
A dental implant is an “artificial tooth root” that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants are an ideal option for young people and patients in good general oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth and don’t want to wear a removable partial.
The “metal root” provides support for the new implant supported crown without having to grind or reduce the neighbor teeth right next to the missing tooth. This is the most important difference between a conventional bridge and an implant restoration.
When a bridge is made, the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth have to be prepared or reduced. This means that if you are missing one tooth, we need to fabricate a three-unit bridge (3 teeth joined): The missing tooth is connected to the two on each end. If these teeth already crowns or are severely broken, it’s not a big deal since those teeth need crowns anyways. But, if you have perfectly good healthy teeth next to a missing tooth, then it is a shame to have to grind the good teeth in order to make a bridge. In this case, a dental implant is the best option because these healthy teeth are not affected at all.
Dental implants feel just a “normal” tooth because you recover the “biting sensation”, you can floss between your teeth, it looks very natural and, since it’s an “artificial tooth” it will never get a cavity!
In the long term, a single implant can be more esthetic and easier to keep clean than a bridge. Gums can recede around a bridge, leaving a visible defect when the metal base or collar of the bridge becomes exposed. Also, the cement holding the bridge in place can dissolve, allowing bacteria to decay the teeth that anchor the bridge needing to replace the entire bridge.
Implants can also be use in the case of patients with lose dentures (especially the lower denture). A few dental implants can provide the anchor and retention needed to maintain the denture in place without having to use the denture glue and avoiding embarrassing situations in public.