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A dental implant is a gold standard when it comes to finding a long-term solution for replacing a missing tooth. However, there are many situations in which a dental implant may not be the best alternative for tooth loss. In these instances, a fixed dental bridge may be a superior choice.
Here are a few examples of where a patient may be better off choosing a dental bridge over a dental implant.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a fixed oral appliance permanently attached to healthy teeth surrounding a gap to create a bridge effect across space where a missing tooth is. The two abutment teeth on opposite sides of a gap are shaved down to accommodate a dental bridge. A cap is then cemented into place over each tooth to create an anchor system with a bridge effect.
Dental Bridges Are Different From Implants
Dental implants are posts made from screws or cylinders surgically inserted through your gum into the jawbone. Once the surgical site has healed, a prosthetic tooth is then mounted onto the post. Dental implants can take the place of a natural tooth and successfully prevent issues commonly associated with a dental gap.
Situations When a Bridge May Be Best
When You Need It Quickly
The entire dental implant process can take anywhere from 3-8 months to complete. Proper healing is necessary before moving on to the next step in the treatment, and little can be done to rush the healing process. A dental bridge can typically be completed in three weeks or less – even if you need to have a tooth extracted.
When Your Budget Is Tight
A single dental implant can cost several thousands of dollars. While most would agree that an implant’s cost is worth it in the long run, it can be a financial burden for many individuals. A dental bridge typically costs under $1000 after using dental insurance, which leads to many deciding to proceed with a bridge.
When Other Teeth Have Shifted
If a person has been missing a tooth for several years, neighboring teeth tend to drift and shift into the open space. There may not be enough space for a dental implant without having space created first with orthodontics. A bridge can be used to reshape the tilted teeth while also replacing a missing tooth.
When There Is a Bone Defect
If there is a pre-existing bone defect in the jawline, an implant’s success rate is significantly decreased. The area can typically be augmented with additional surgical procedures such as a bone graft, but this may not be possible in every situation.
When You’re Not Old Enough For a Tooth Implant
The dental implant process requires a fully developed jaw. In general, a dental implant patient must be at least 17 or 18 years old to be considered a candidate. This number can vary as the age requirements have more to do with the jawlines development and less to do with an exact age.
Finding The Best Option For Your Smile
An essential step you can take to ensure you find the right treatment option for replacing a missing tooth is to speak with your dentist. Together, you can discuss your options and find a solution that suits your budget and specific situation. Your dentist can help make the best choice for your smile with short-term and long-term reasoning.
Aubrey Baudean DDS is here to help you find the ideal solution for a missing tooth. Call us today to learn more about dental implants, dental bridges, and which treatment is the best option for you.