Missing a Tooth? Which is better: a Dental Implant or a Fixed Bridge?

While some people who are missing a tooth may not mind the gap between their teeth, most people find the gap caused by a missing tooth to be rather unsightly, creating the desire to cosmetically augment their teeth to have a replacement tooth placed in the space left by the missing tooth. For people who are faced with the replacement of a missing tooth have a decision to make: should they get a dental implant or should they get a fixed bridge? To decide, you need to first understand the goals and limitations of each type of tooth replacement technique.

A dental implant actually describe a series of procedures that work in conjunction to bring about a successful tooth replacement. During a dental implant, a titanium implant is placed in the pocket of the missing tooth’s bone socket, known as the alveolus. This titanium implant has an abutment at the end that sticks out of the gums once it has been placed in the bone socket; an implant crown is capped over this abutment. Before undergoing a dental implant the cosmetic dentist will create an implant crown that looks similar to the teeth surrounding the space left by the missing tooth- it is this crown that will be placed on the abutment.

A fixed dental bridge is a non-removable dental prosthesis that can “bridge” the gap left by the missing tooth. Fixed bridges require that each tooth on either side of the gap will be drilled through in such a way that a prosthesis- a fixed false tooth- can be affixed to these two teeth in a permanent manner.

While both the dental implant and the fixed bridge are effective tooth replacement procedures, the dental implant procedure is typically considered the better procedure to perform to replace a missing tooth. In the past, the fixed bridge method was effectively used to replace a missing tooth- however, the fact that the teeth on either side of the gap have to be drilled into tended to cause a variety of dental issues down the road, including the development of periodontal disease, plaque accumulation, and the onset of decay, potentially necessitating root canals.

As fixed dental bridges can potentially cause dental problems in the future, many dental specialists recommend that the gap caused by a missing tooth be filled with a dental implant. However, some patients are not good candidates for dental implants in Torrance. For example, patients with insufficient jawbone strength may likely fare better with fixed bridges rather than dental implants. In the absence of dental issues preventing the installation of dental implants, dental implants are often the better choice as they are more long-term and easier to maintain than fixed bridges.

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