If you need to replace a missing tooth—following an accident or a health issue resulting in the loss of a tooth or teeth—you have several options to consider. Among the most popular choices are dental implants, dentures, and fixed bridges, and all your options have both advantages and disadvantages.
Dental bridges are a permanent tooth-replacement option. They can be made from a variety of materials (porcelain, gold, alloys, or a combination), but the basic process of installing a bridge is this: the gap created by a missing tooth is filled with the bridge, or replacement tooth, that is attached to crowns that fit over the teeth surrounding the gap. To attach these crowns, the teeth surrounding the gap must first be filed down, which can harm the nerves in these teeth and leave them without protective tooth enamel. In the case of dentures, prosthetic teeth are attached to a gum-colored plastic base, which is attached in the mouth via a metal framework. Whereas dentures and bridges are relatively affordable, they can be difficult to adapt to and do not give the appearance of natural teeth.
Dental implants, on the other hand, are an attractive, permanent solution that mimic the look and feel of natural teeth better than bridges or dentures. The implants are made of titanium and are attached by a titanium screw that over time fuses with the jaw bone in a process called osseointegration, becoming fully integrated into the mouth. Next, a very natural-looking prosthetic tooth is attached, creating a natural feel. Implants are installed by a surgeon, and the cost of implants is greater than that of bridges or dentures. But many people will find that the natural appearance of implants, and the confidence this can bring, is invaluable. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimates that dental implants have an overall success rate of about 95 percent. Furthermore, the lifespan of dental implants can be twenty years or more, whereas some bridges must be replaced in as little as five years.
The professionals at The Schiff Dental Group are versed in the most up-to-date dental techniques and equipment and offer a wide variety of dental treatments. Learn more and request an appointment here.