My dentist is insisting on me getting a dental implant to replace one tooth. I don’t like the idea of surgery and prefer to have a bridge. Are dental implants really that much better than a dental bridge?
While dental implants are the top of the line treatment for a missing tooth, dental bridges are a very acceptable alternative. In some cases, it may actually make more sense. Here’s one example:
A Dental Bridge
A dental bridge will suspend a false tooth between two dental crowns. If it happens that the adjacent teeth need some work on them anyway, then it actually could make more sense to get a bridge unless money is not an issue for you. There are downsides. If one part of the bridge breaks, the whole unit will need to be replaced. It won’t preserve the jawbone directly beneath the tooth you lost. However, if that’s your only missing tooth it’s not as big a deal as if you’d lost several teeth. Lastly, while they are bonded on, they’re not quite as secure as a dental implant.
A Dental Implant
As you can see from the diagram to the left, a dental implant surgically places a prosthetic root into your jawbone and then, after the bone reforms around the implant, a porcelain crown will be placed on top. There are distinct advantages to this. It’s the most secure replacement and it will preserve your jawbone. If your adjacent teeth are healthy, you won’t have to grind down any healthy tooth structure. It’s always a positive to keep as much of your healthy teeth as possible.
Finding the Right Dentist for You
I’m not a big believer in dentists insisting on a certain procedure. In fact, their job is to give you all your options and their recommendation. The rest should be up to you. However, there are some dentists who feel they know better, therefore the patient should just trust them and move on.
There’s a problem with that. Not everyone is working under the same budget. Plus, there can be other mitigating factors. Surgery requires a much longer healing time and some time off work. What if that’s not possible for you? What if you’re someone with a condition which makes surgery a little riskier than for others? Or, what if you just plain don’t want surgery? As it is your body, it should be up to you.
If your dentist is unwilling to work with you, I’m sure you can find one who is.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Rebecca Gecovich.