Even one missing tooth can have a major impact on your smile and your self-esteem, especially if it’s in a prominent location.
Patients who need to fill in the gap left behind by an absent tooth can choose from different tooth replacement techniques. Fixed permanent bridges and dental implants are the most common fixes for this problem.
A fixed permanent bridge places a prosthetic crown in the empty space and affixes it to crowns that are placed on both adjoining teeth.
Alternatively, dental implants are titanium screws that are inserted into the jawbone, fusing with the bone over time. Those screws are then topped with abutments and artificial crowns.
In many ways, dental implants improve upon the fixed permanent bridge, so more and more patients are visiting an implant dentist when they need to replace a tooth.
Unlike bridges, dental implants replace the entire tooth structure, including its root. This stabilizes the bone underneath, which can wear away when there is no longer a root to anchor it.
Even patients who are solely motivated by aesthetic concerns will benefit from dental implants. Jawbone erosion can prematurely age patients and increase the likelihood that another tooth will be lost.
With bridges, crowns must be placed to secure the replacement tooth, and this means that healthy enamel must be sacrificed to accommodate the crown. This is unappealing for some patients.
Dental implants are easier to maintain as well. Patients do not need to make any adjustments to their regular oral hygiene routines. Bridges, on the other hand, limit access to the gumline, and they require threading tools for flossing.
A removable partial denture may also be an option for single tooth replacement, but such devices are rarely permanent solutions, and many patients choose to pursue a more durable alternative.
When considering tooth replacement methods, patients will consider a variety of factors, including aesthetic appeal, functional performance and budget, among other characteristics.
Contact the office of Dr. Brad Crump, serving the Highland Park area, to learn more about what dental implants have to offer so that you can make a well-informed choice.