A missing tooth can have a major impact on your life. If it's in a visible area, there is the affect it can have on your self confidence. There are also issues you may have with health. This includes any affects it has on chewing, as well as issues with bone loss and shifting teeth. A replacement tooth can solve some or all of these issues. When it comes to replacing a single tooth, you have two options -- a bridge or an implant. The following can help you pick the best one for you.
Bridge vs Implant
A bridge consists of two partial and one or more full crowns, connected by a metal device. The partial crowns are capped onto the teeth that are on either side of the missing tooth. They support the full crown(s) that replace the missing tooth or teeth. A bridge can be used to replace one or two teeth,
An implant is a surgical steel post that is inserted into the jaw bone, where it heals into place and acts much like a natural tooth root. You can have up to four crowns installed onto a single post.
Cost can vary greatly, but generally an implant is slightly more expensive than a bridge for a single tooth replacement. If you need multiple teeth replaced, and they can all be placed onto a single implant post, the cost will be much more comparable to a similar bridge.
For a bridge, your dentist will take molds of the support teeth. The bridge and crowns will be fashioned between visits, then you will come in a second time to have the crown fitted. Implants require a bit more effort and minor surgery is involved. First, the post is installed and allowed to heal in place, which can take a couple of weeks. Then, the crowns are fashioned and placed onto the implant post.
When it comes to the health of your jaw, implants are the clear winner. Since the post goes into the jaw bone much as a root would, it continues to provide bone stimulation and guard against bone loss. A bridge doesn't have this benefit. For a single lost tooth this isn't a major issue, but it can be a problem if you have several missing teeth.
Both bridges and dental implants require minimal maintenance. You will need to floss carefully around a bridge to prevent plaque from forming on the device. Implants behave just like normal teeth and do not have all the nooks and crannies of a bridge, so these are cared for exactly the same as a natural tooth.
For more help, contact a dental office in your area.