Fixed Bridge vs. a Dental Implant

Sometimes, for whatever reason, a person will lose one of their permanent teeth. There are a number of causes, including force trauma, pregnancy hormones, osteoporosis, or some forms of diabetes. But, the most common cause of tooth loss is periodontal disease.

The loss of a tooth can cause a number of problems for a patient. Not all of them are obvious.  Other than chewing difficulties and possibly speaking difficulties, a patient who has lost a tooth is quite likely to lose the bone structure beneath it. 

The reasons for this have to do with the way teeth connect on a regular basis while chewing, eating, and other activities. These act as a form of impact exercise and strengthens the bone directly under the tooth. When a tooth is lost, that potential for impact is also lost. This results in a gradual decline in bone density and structure where the tooth was lost.

To combat this, a dentist may recommend replacing the tooth with a fixed bridge or a dental implant. There are several factors which need to be considered before the decision is made on whether a patient should get a permanent bridge or a dental implant.

A bridge is a permanent prosthesis which is connected between the two permanent teeth which abutt the gap. The bridge is used as a replacement for a missing tooth. 

A bridge is a more economical option, but doesn't last as long as an implant.

A bridge is a more economical option, but doesn't last as long as an implant.

A dental implant is a titanium rod with a crown screwed into it. The rod eventually fuses to the bone. This procedure takes about six months or more for the titanium rod to fuse to the bone properly and requires a series of visits. 
A bridge is a cheaper alternative. It does not require surgery. However, it's much more difficult to floss the bridge teeth on the sides beneath the bridge. Should decay or periodontal disease form, it can lead to damage or even loss of the bridge teeth, as well as loss of the bridge. 
Dental implants cannot be done on all patients. The implant requires good bone structure to adhere the anchoring rod. Smokers, pregnant women, and those with some autoimmune diseases and certain types of diabetes, aren't good candidates for the oral surgery. About ten percent of the time, a body will reject the implant.

Decisions such as the bridge vs. dental implant, should be made after discussing the pros and cons of each with your dentist.  While an implant may seem to be the more expensive option, it may ultimately be the better choice because of the permanency of it. If you aren’t a good candidate for an implant, you may be better off with a bridge. 
Talk to your dentist about various options.  Together, you’ll find an option that will suit your dental needs. 

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