Other than wearing dentures, there are primarily two different ways to replace your missing teeth: a fixed bridge or dental implant. Making the choice between the two options can seem difficult, especially depending on what your personal short and long term goals are. Here are a few things to consider so that you can make an educated choice about which option is right for you:
Bridges require healthy teeth on opposite sides of the missing tooth in order to support the restoration. A dental bridge is initially a more affordable option than a dental implant, but bridges usually only last about a decade. It can replace up to two missing teeth at a time. One important note is that the supporting teeth must be altered in shape in order to support the bridge – making the treatment irreversible. The supporting teeth must also be extremely well cared for in order to prevent decay or gum disease from developing around them, thus jeopardizing the stability of the bridge.
An implant is a stand-alone tooth replacement option that does not rely on any other teeth for support. Depending on how many teeth need to be replaced, you can have a single implant (for one tooth) or as many as 4 to 6 (to support a full mouth bridge.) Although initially a larger investment, most dental implants last for the rest of your life, making them more cost effective. They also improve bone strength in the jaw.
Now that you have a better understanding of the basis of each treatment, you can talk to your dentist about the one that you feel is right for you!
Posted on behalf of:
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
1820 The Exchange SE #600
Atlanta, GA 30339
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