When it comes to closing gaps or replacing missing teeth the question often arises: is it really necessary to get dental implants? A bridge consists of taking the adjacent teeth as anchors, called retainer teeth, to hold a splinted crown, called pontic, that artificially replaces the missing tooth. Here is an overview of when bridges are a feasible option over dental implants.
Dental bridges can avoid surgical procedures. There are occasions in which placing dental implants involves considerable surgical intervention in large bone grafts, sinus lifts, etc. This is especially true in missing upper molars. If the missing tooth has two healthy adjacent teeth, bridges can save considerable time, effort, and money. In dental tourism, opting for a bridge option can save you a trip. Usually, bridges do not require a waiting or healing period for the final result. They can be an easy and quick alternative to restore edentulous areas.
Dental bridges are a good option for replacing missing front teeth. Since anterior teeth are greatly alienated from the chewing function, a dental bridge can replace missing teeth in this area without much risk. Actually, because the teeth here are small, there is generally not enough space to place an implant without possible complications. Bridges are good options for missing front teeth.
Bridges are not a feasible option if, however, one or both of the retainer teeth presents a dubious prognosis. This means one of the teeth supporting the bridge is not in a healthy condition and can endanger the success of the entire bridge. Another risk factor is when bridges are too long. In general, a three to four unit bridge is considered safe, but more than this can suppose a risk of fracture or eventual failure. The type of retainer teeth is also a factor because the length of their roots make some teeth do a better job than others. For example, canines are generally good retainer teeth, as opposed to laterals and centrals. The distribution of forces must be considered so as to not place undue stress on the retainer teeth. Finally, bridges are not possible when the missing tooth is the last molar. Since there is no retention on the other side, the stress can either fracture the pontic or damage the retainer. In these cases getting one or two implants can solve the missing tooth problem.
Dental implants, as opposed to bridges, are often the best option because they replace teeth individually. There is no need to grind perfectly healthy teeth and they avoid the distribution of chewing forces problem. The individual replacement of teeth will make each tooth assume its function without depending on another. Also, dental implants stop the natural bone loss process in edentulous areas because they act as roots and, once integrated, the body believes it is an actual tooth. Even if dental implants require a greater investment, they are the most permanent solution for a missing tooth.
As described, the options are many, but the ideal course of action is one. If you have a missing tooth that you’d like replaced, contact us to learn about what is yours.