Your teeth are supposed to last your entire life; however, for many adults, this isn’t the case. Regardless of the reason for tooth loss, it’s important to be swift with appropriate replacement. When missing teeth are left untreated, it can impact oral health, causing healthy teeth to shift out of place and increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. At Nashua Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry, we provide patients with good options for proper restorations such as dental bridges and dental implants to repair the functionality and beauty of their smile.
We see patients every day who want to know what the best options are for replacing missing teeth. Oftentimes this decision is based upon multiple factors, including the number of teeth missing, overall oral health, budget, and long-term goals of the patient. Dental bridges and implants are two options that we recommend often.
Bridges are a restoration for missing teeth that can be supported by natural teeth or implants on either side of the gap left by the missing tooth. The anchor teeth for bridges are called abutments and the artificial teeth in the middle are called pontics. There are several different types of dental bridges that can be used depending on the patient’s needs.
Traditional bridges are built using a metal framework and consist of crowns placed on natural teeth surrounding the gap and the artificial teeth in the middle.
- Simple dental procedure
- Quicker than dental implants
- Less expensive than dental implants
- Less natural looking than dental implants
- Need to be replaced every 5-7 years
- Damage to adjacent teeth is necessary in order to prepare them for crowns
- Require use of a special floss and toothbrush
For individuals who a want a more secure solution, implant-supported bridges are a good option. Dental implants are posts that are placed into the jawbone to act as the missing tooth root. Dental implants provide stability for a crown or other type of restoration because they undergo a process where they fuse with the jaw bone and become a fully integrated part of the jaw.
For patients who have lost an entire arch of teeth, dental implants can be used to hold the dentures in place. This eliminates the need for adhesives and the embarrassment or discomfort that comes from dentures slipping out of place. If patients only have a few missing teeth, dental implants may act as the anchors to a dental bridge, with crowns attached to each post. And for a patient missing just a single tooth, a single implant can be used with a beautiful porcelain crown to blend in seamlessly in the smile.
- Can last a lifetime and require minimal maintenance
- Look, feel, and function like natural teeth
- Prevent jawbone deterioration
- Do not put strain on neighboring healthy teeth
- The procedure is considered surgery
- The process can be lengthy
- The price can get high and isn’t as widely covered by insurance
More and more patients are turning to implant-supported bridges and dentures to replace missing teeth instead of removable restorations. Dental implants are stronger, sturdier, and longer lasting than other types of restorations. However, patients interested in the placement of dental implants require a complete dental evaluation to determine if they have enough bone structure to support the implant. Patients who have significant jaw bone deterioration may need a procedure called a bone graft before implant surgery can take place.
Why the jaw bone stability is so important
Dental implants are posts made of metal or other materials that are surgically inserted into the jawbone to replace the missing tooth. On top of the implant, the crown, bridge, or denture is attached for a complete restoration.
After the implant is put into place, it is left to heal and integrate with the bone for a strong support. If there is not enough bone to fuse around the implant, it can affect the integrity of the restoration. Bone grafts are done to increase the volume of the jawbone. The procedure will be done and needs to heal before the implant surgery takes place.
You don’t have to live with missing teeth. At Nashua Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry, we have options for patients who want a long-term solution that both looks and feels natural. If you are wondering when a dental bridge is a good option for missing teeth, or simply want to learn more about dental implants, call us today (855) 363-3793 to schedule an appointment.