If you have a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth, you are not alone. An estimated 2 out of 3 adult Americans has at least one missing tooth. In the past, a missing tooth was compensated for using a dental bridge, which requires the grinding down of the adjacent teeth and construction of a false “bridge” tooth in between. While a dental bridge is still a viable option for some patients, there are several drawbacks to replacing a missing tooth with a dental bridge which should be considered prior to deciding on a treatment plan.
- Dental bridges do not support good oral health. They are difficult to floss around, promoting tooth decay of the adjacent teeth as well as increased risk of periodontal disease.
- A bridge can sacrifice otherwise healthy adjacent teeth, since those teeth must be ground down in order to attach the bridged tooth in the center.
- A bridge does not maintain the bone height and width in the area of the missing tooth, allowing recession over time.
- A bridge has a life span of approximately 5-10 years.
- A failed bridge often requires extraction of the adjacent abutment teeth and extension of the bridge.
Many patients coping with one or more missing teeth choose to proceed with a dental bridge simply because they are unaware of all the options available. Dental implants to replace missing teeth are a mainstream permanent solution for missing teeth. A dentist or oral surgeon should present your restorative options to you so you can weigh the pros and cons yourself, and decide upon a treatment option that is best for you. Some patients do not consider a dental implant simply because the perception is that they are too expensive. The truth is, dental implants, even when the initial cost is higher than that of a bridge, are significantly more cost effective over time. Since the life of a bridge is expected to be 5-10 years, it will require replacement or expansion sometime in the near future. A longer bridge spanning additional missing teeth will increase the cost. A dental implant has a success rate of over 97% over 47 years of research. This means that when you replace a missing tooth with a dental implant, there is a good chance that that implant will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Here are some of the benefits of replacing missing teeth with dental implants:
- Predictable and precise treatment
- Permanent solution for missing teeth
- 97% successful over 47 years
- No sacrifice of adjacent teeth
- No decay
- Easier to keep clean
- Feel, look and function like natural teeth
Many doctors, such as Dr. Robert Weinstein, believe so strongly in the positive outcomes from dental implants that they have made them more affordable than ever. Visit our seasonal specials page for more information on the actual cost of dental implants.
When considering your treatment options for the replacement of missing teeth, make sure you have all the facts. While a dental bridge may be the best option for some patients, dental implants for permanent tooth replacement may provide a permanent and more predictable outcome.