What are my options to replace a missing tooth?
Are you missing a tooth and looking to replace it, but the amount of options are overwhelming? Techniques in dentistry are constantly evolving, giving more options to the patient, but this can also be quite confusing. 50 years ago, if you were to lose a tooth, your options would be limited to a bridge or dentures. However, today you are able to have an implant placed that mimics your original tooth’s root structure. The other option is to just leave the space, however, natural teeth tend to shift when there are unnatural spaces present, and so replacement of a missing tooth is usually the best option.
So, let’s compare bridges and implants!
What is a bridge?
A bridge is a non-removable prosthesis that attaches to your natural teeth in order to fill a space where your tooth originally was. You typically need to have healthy teeth on either side of the space in order to support a bridge.
Peak Dental Arts – Bridge
- Non-surgical procedure
- Faster than an implant
- Bridges can typically be prepared and cemented within a couple of weeks
- Bridges can be less expensive up front, and insurance may cover a larger portion of a bridge
- Less esthetically pleasing
- Bridges are usually replaced every 10-15 years due to cavities
- Difficult to clean
- Have to use special floss or floss-threaders in order to get underneath the bridge
- Bone loss
- Bridges don’t support the jawbone, so the bone will start to disappear in the area where the tooth was lost
- Damage natural tooth structure
- The teeth adjacent to the space need to be “prepared” in order to allow the bridge to be supported. This can mean removing natural tooth structure that otherwise would not need to be cut
What is an implant?
A dental implant is a titanium post that acts as the root of a tooth. It is surgically placed within the jaw bone where it fuses (or osseointegrates) into the jaw bone in order to anchor itself. A dental crown is then placed on top of the implant.
- More natural appearance
- Less maintenance as flossing is just like your natural teeth
- Protects and supports the jawbone
- Prevents loss of bone in the jaw
- More conservative to surrounding teeth
- Adjacent teeth don’t need to be prepared to support it
- Less force will be applied on adjacent teeth
- Surgical procedure
- Always risk of complications with surgery, including infection, delayed healing, etc.
- The implant has to integrate with the bone, which takes months. If additional bone is required in order to place an implant then there may be multiple surgical procedures separated by 3-6 months.
- A standard implant without additional procedures can take from 3-6 months (or more)
- Upfront cost of an implant is typically higher
- Typically less insurance coverage
- More and more insurance companies are paying for partial implant costs as they are realizing the long term benefits
In a ten year study comparing bridges to implants it was discovered that 20% of bridges fail within the first ten years due to decay, gum disease, infection or fracture. Implants failed 3% of the time. So although the initial cost and time is more significant than a bridge, over time the need to replace a bridge is much more costly than that of an implant
So, what is the best option? What works best for you depends on your unique situation! Dr. Rutwind and Dr. Virani at Peak Dental Arts have experience in placing both bridges and implants, and can review what works best with your individual needs.
Give us a call or email us if you would like to book a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced dentists @ (604) 770-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a summary video of what was discussed in this blog:
Patient Education Video – Dental Implant Vs Bridge