A dental bridge or a single tooth implant are both excellent options for replacing a missing tooth. During your Mesa, Arizona tooth replacement consultation we’ll do an evaluation to determine which solution is best for you.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A bridge is a connection of (usually) three dental crowns that use the natural teeth in front and behind the missing tooth to anchor the restoration onto. The crowns on the ends of the bridge are hollowed out to fit over the existing teeth, while the one that fills in the open space is solid.
Making a bridge is a two visit process. The first part of the treatment may take an hour or two to complete and the final visit is about 45 minutes long.
At your first appointment, we’ll carefully trim down the circumference of the existing teeth so that the bridge fits over them without being bulky. Once the preparation is complete, we’ll take an impression of your teeth which is what we’ll send to the dental laboratory where your custom bridge will be crafted. We’ll take a look the shade of your tooth and communicate with the lab about what color to make the bridge so that it matches you natural teeth.
Typically, it takes about 2-3 weeks to get a permanent bridge back from the laboratory, so we’ll make a temporary one for you to wear in the meantime. Once the bridge arrives, you’ll return for a final appointment in which we’ll remove your preliminary bridge and cement your permanent one in place.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a titanium post that is placed into the jaw bone where you’re missing a tooth. The implant mimics the root of your missing tooth. Once inserted, we give about 12 weeks for the bone to grow and fuse (integrate) with the implant for a secure fit.
If it’s a front tooth that is being replaced, then we can make you a temporary tooth in the meantime. Typically, this is a removable device called a flipper and it looks similar to an acrylic partial. Our patients getting a back tooth restored typically go without anything there until it’s time for restoration to be installed.
At the 12 week mark we’ll take an x-ray or do a torque test to ensure that the implant is stable enough for a crown. At that point, we can take an impression of your implant to have your new tooth made. The crown is attached to your implant with an abutment post that we place inside of the top of your implant. This process is easy and doesn’t require any surgery.
Dental Implant vs. Dental Bridge
When choosing how to replace a missing tooth you’ll want to weigh all your options and decide which method is best for you. Each solution has their advantages and disadvantages.
Pros and cons of a dental bridge:
- A quick process that only requires a couple weeks to complete
- Lasts for several years if taken care of properly
- Can make the neighboring teeth look better if they are stained, broken, or have large fillings
- A bridge is a permanently fixed solution that doesn’t need to be taken in and out
- Involves reshaping your natural teeth which usually isn’t recommended if there isn’t anything wrong with them
- If one tooth decays under the bridge or the restoration breaks, the whole restoration needs to be replaced.
- Doesn’t last as long as dental implants.
Pros and cons of a dental implant:
- An implant doesn’t require any treatment on adjacent teeth because
- This treatment can last a lifetime.
- A fixed tooth replacement solution that isn’t removable
- Reinforces the healthy bone you still have, reducing further bone loss
- Reinforces the teeth on either side
- Wearing a flipper or removable prosthesis while you wait for the implant to integrate
- Not everyone qualifies for dental implants
- This treatment takes a longer time to complete (around six months or so)
- Implants can fail if you develop gum disease
Help Making Your Decision
When you come to Eastport Dental for your tooth replacement consultation, we’ll take an x-ray of the area in question to evaluate the other teeth in that area and look at the bone as well. Based on that, we’ll give you our recommendation as to which treatment option is best. Give us a call today to schedule an examination.