Loss of a tooth to trauma or extraction can create bite problems when chewing and self-esteem issues when smiling. A wide range of dental replacement options are available for one or several missing teeth. Choosing the best dental replacement is a highly personalized choice you should ultimately make with your cosmetic dentistry specialist, but there are a couple of options you can consider ahead of your appointment.
Dental implants and bridges are both popular replacement options and each has its own pros and cons to consider.
Implant: Stable, Long Treatment Process and High Cost
Dental implants provide one of the most natural feeling dental replacement experiences because a root inserted into the jawbone supports the crown, much as a natural tooth is supported. The implant doesn't shift while chewing or speaking and can undergo the same oral hygiene routine as your natural teeth.
Implants are also one of the most expensive dental replacement options and that is partly due to the long dental implant procedure process. The metal root is first inserted into the jawbone. Then you have a healing period of months to wait for the jawbone to grow around the root. A post is then placed on the root and you have to wait for the gum tissue to heal. The crown can then finally be snapped onto the implant.
The process becomes even longer if you have weak jawbone, which will require a bone graft and another round of healing.
Bridge: Easy to Install, Requires Healthy Neighboring Teeth
A dental bridge consists of two crown caps that fit onto neighboring healthy teeth and an artificial tooth that is attached to those crowns. Your dentist can install a bridge nearly as easy as inserting a tooth filling, though you will need a pre-appointment to have a mold made to create the crowns.
The bridge doesn't shift while you are chewing but might not feel as natural as a dental implant due to the lack of bone support.
Dental bridges can be arranged so that the artificial tooth is between the two crowns or the two crowns are on one side of the artificial tooth. The latter arrangement is necessary when there isn't a tooth available to one side of the gap, such as when you need a bridge near the rear of your mouth where the wisdom tooth is also missing.
The downside of this arrangement is that a bridge isn't possible if you lack natural teeth around the missing tooth or if those natural teeth are in bad condition. The natural teeth will need to be treated first before the bridge can be placed.
To learn more, contact a dental clinic like Dental Images.