Tooth loss in adults is a fairly common experience, shared among nearly 70% of people ages 35-44. Although it happens somewhat frequently, that doesn’t mean individuals with tooth loss don’t have concerns. Tooth loss whether from accident or extraction can impact appearance and more importantly, functionality of the mouth.
If you are about to have a permanent tooth extracted, understanding the treatment options is critical, as dental implants and bridgework both have their pros and cons. Here’s what you need to know about dental implants and fixed bridgework.
An implant is actually a root replacement; however, unlike the root of a tooth, the implant actually fuses to the jawbone with a permanent crown attached to it. The implant takes the place of the underlying structure of the tooth and prevents deterioration of the area around the missing root.
After the metal post is inserted, a crown is secured on top. Soon, bone should grow around the implanted metal. Implants function and look just like natural teeth, and should last a lifetime.
Implants are the preferred treatment for patients with only one or two teeth to replace. The procedure may take multiple sessions of oral surgery, and complete healing can take up to a couple of months.
[Related: Options for Replacing Missing Teeth]
By contrast, a fixed dental bridge is a restoration or prosthesis (replacement part) that is fixed in place by attaching it to adjacent natural teeth that are reduced to allow room for the crowns. Basically, a fixed bridge is a piece that connects the healthy teeth and bridges the gap in between where multiple teeth have had to be extracted.
The bridge is connected by way of a cap that goes over the tops of the teeth on each side. In instances where the dental bridge is installed without teeth on one side, the cap will go over the side with the tooth and be installed over the gap (this is called a cantilever bridge).
This process is quicker and less costly than dental implants, as they don’t require any bone grafting in case of bone loss, or multiple surgical procedures. However, fixed dental bridges don’t address the underlying structural issues that could be going on beneath the surface, while a dental implant replaces the root to prevent deterioration.
[Related: What is Bone Grafting?]
Not sure which solution is best for you? Contact our experienced dental hygienists at Cascadia Dental Specialists today for a consultation. Fill out our online form, contact us at (425) 644-7444, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!