Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bridge or Implant?

                                            How do I decide?

It is always devastating when a tooth or teeth are lost.  All the teeth work together to help chew, speak and smile. When teeth are missing , it is difficult to do these things. Loss of a tooth may cause the mouth to shift and make the face appear older. Teeth maintain the shape of your face by lip and cheek support. Fortunately, missing teeth can be replaced and should be as soon as possible.

What are the options and then, which option is the best for you?

The decision on how to replace a missing tooth is best handled after an honest discussion with your dentist" says Dr. Vijaya Cherukuri from her Chino, California Cosmetic Dental Practice. There are many factors that go into making this decision.

 A dental implant is much like a natural tooth, which has a root into the jaw bone, topped by a crown that is seen in the mouth. Most patients find that an implant is secure and stable replacement for a missing natural tooth. However, a dental implant is not an option for everyone. Because implants require surgery, patients should be in good health and have sufficient bone and healthy gums. patients should also be committed to thorough hygiene every day and regular dental visits. A full evaluation by a dentist will determine if you are a good candidate.

  • An implant is most similar to a natural tooth.
  • Adjacent teeth do not have to be involved in the placement procedure
  • Implants may help decrease shrinkage of the jaw bone from tooth loss.
  • Implants are not intended for everyone
  • Implant placement takes longer and may require more dental visits 
  Fixed bridge is another alternative.. This is a restoration that replaces or spans the space where one or more teeth have been lost. A fixed bridge is commonly cemented or bonded to the natural teeth next to the space left by the missing teeth. An artificial tooth, replacing the lost natural tooth is retained by crowns cemented on the adjacent prepared teeth.

  • Look, feel and function like natural teeth
  • No need to remove from mouth for cleaning
  • Affects adjoining teeth

When a patient has lost a tooth that is between two other teeth, it is important to also evaluate the adjacent teeth. If the adjacent teeth are heavily restored with crowns or larger fillings, a bridge might be the better option. But if the adjacent teeth are healthy, an implant is generally the best option, says Dr. Cherukuri.

If you, or someone you love, is considering how to replace a missing tooth ask your dentist which is the best option for you.

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