Bridge or Implant?
Missing teeth can be a result of injury, tooth decay or gum disease. Spaces between existing teeth steal the beauty of your smile. When laughing your hand is in front of your lips to cover the insecurity you feel when exposing the gaps between teeth. Dr. Sigmon at White Oak Family Dentistry understands how uncomfortable that is for you. There are options to bring back your confidence and smile. Two popular effective options are Implants and Bridges. Criteria will help you decide which choice is right for you.
A dental implant is basically a titanium tooth root inserted into the jaw bone. A temporary protective cover is placed over the implant while it fuses with the jaw bone. This process can take up to six months. This is a very stable and durable prosthetic. When the bone has fused to the implant the temporary cover is removed and a temporary crown is placed. The gum will shape itself naturally as it grows around the temporary crown. At that point the temporary crown is replaced by a permanent crown. Your tooth looks authentic, matched in color to your adjacent teeth and sized to fit the gap.
Implants are only a consideration when bone growth is complete, after adolescence. Bone quality and density will determine whether an implant is an option for you. Patients with insufficient gum tissue or bone may require grafts before implants can be placed. Some patients, due to health conditions such as gum disease, diabetes or cancer may not be candidates for implants and smokers must stop smoking before being considered. We strive for success in creating the look you’ve been waiting for.
As with any procedure there are risks. The bone may not fuse to the implant or the implant may break. The site may become infected or the crown could come loose. The gum could become diseased around the placement site.
Implants can be placed at the time a tooth is extracted. This reduces healing time and has proven effective in many cases. The location of implantation and size of gap are some considerations determining candidacy for this procedure.
Initially this is the more expensive option, but Dental Implants can last a lifetime with proper oral hygiene. Implants require the same care as natural teeth but they do not decay. Implants are most realistic in appearance. If this sounds attractive to you consult with your local dentist to determine if you are a candidate.
A Dental Bridge is less invasive and healing time is less than Implants. Bridges do not replace tooth roots. They attach to surrounding stable teeth. The anchor teeth on each side of the gap must be permanently altered, filed down, to support a crown. More than one pontic, false tooth, can be placed between the anchor crowns. If you have two teeth in a row missing, for example, this may be an option for you. This type of bridge is called a conventional bridge.
A resin-bonded bridge is frequently used in replacing front teeth if the gums are healthy and anchor teeth are strong. The material used for your bridge will depend on its location.
During your initial visit your dentist will evaluate your teeth and gums. If you are a candidate for a bridge and choose this option, preparation to adjacent teeth can begin at this visit. Your dentist will take an impression of the prepared teeth with a putty like material.This impression will be used as a model for the skilled lab technician to create your bridge to perfectly fit your prepared teeth. While your bridge is being made you will be fitted with a temporary restoration protecting your teeth and gums.
At your next visit your bridge will be fitted and cemented into place.
Instructions for care will be provided at this time. A special floss threader will allow you to floss efficiently under the pontic(s) (false tooth/teeth), area around your bridge and gum tissue underneath the pontic(s). Since a portion of natural tooth remains under the crowns, tooth decay and gum disease are still possible. Normal wear may cause the bridge to fall over time.
The cost for a bridge can vary depending on the number of pontics and preparation of surrounding teeth needed. Life of a bridge will depend on your oral hygiene habits and several other factors. With excellent oral care and regular dental visits your bridge can last ten years.
Restoration specialists at White Oak Family Dentistry in Garner, NC are waiting to discuss a treatment plan to bring back your pearly white smile. Call us today at (919) 986-0151.