Two Options for Single Tooth Replacement
So, you’ve lost a tooth. Your dentist has explained to you why it’s best for your long-term health to have it replaced, but you aren’t sure which type of prosthetic tooth to choose. This is a very common dilemma for dental patients, but the benefits of both implants and bridges are many. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with either choice, although knowing this might not make it easier to decide!
Dr. Ruth Bailey wants to help you make the right decision for replacing your tooth. Visit our dental office to learn more about Knoxville dental implants and bridges for tooth replacement.
Benefits of Bridges
A dental bridge is an excellent way to restore a missing tooth, and ensure your oral health doesn’t fall into decline as the result of your gap. Several dental problems can be caused by a missing tooth: misalignment, cracked molars, enamel erosion, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, for example. Dental bridges stabilize the teeth surrounding your gap, and give you a chewing surface that acts very much like the tooth you lost. They also look natural in your smile.
Dental bridges cost less than implants, but they don’t last forever. Just like fillings and other restorations, bridges will need to be checked regularly for signs of failure. The average lifespan for a dental bridge is about 5-12 years, depending on how you use it.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants are considered the more permanent choice for tooth replacement, because they very rarely need replacement. Most patients with a single dental implant notice no difference between their prosthetic tooth and the tooth they lost. In time, some even forget it’s a replacement.
However, an implant is going to take a greater commitment of both time and money. Implants do cost more than bridges, and require a surgical procedure for placement. It can be done on an outpatient basis (hospital stays are rarely needed) but you will need a few days of resting time to heal from the process.
Dental implants also require more visits to the dentist. After approximately three months of new bone growth around the implant, it will be ready to hold a prosthetic crown. At this point you’ll need abutment placement to open up a space for it in the gum tissue that has healed over the implant. It takes about two weeks to heal from abutment placement before you get your new tooth. So, you see, it does require more visits, as there are more steps in the process. Hassles aside, most patients absolutely love their dental implants, and they love the convenience they offer. The payoff is a permanent prosthetic tooth that will most likely serve them for the rest of their days.
Long-Term vs. Short-Term Costs
If you aren’t sure, a bridge is always a safe bet, and you can always upgrade to a dental implant when your bridge begins to fail. For many patients it really comes down to weighing the benefits of short-term versus long-term costs. Depending on how long you live(!), a dental bridge may need to be replaced several times. Add up the cost of multiple bridge replacements and you might find that an implant is actually comparable.
We Can Help You Decide
Dr. Bailey wants to make sure you make the decision that works best for your lifestyle and oral health goals. Don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Bailey to help you understand the issues regarding your tooth replacement decision. Dental implants are not right for every patient, so knowing about your unique circumstances and health issues may help us advise you properly.
Visit our dental office to learn more about Knoxville dental implants and implant bridges. Call us at 865-588-1294 to set up an appointment with Dr. Bailey.