Bridge vs. an Implant
When a tooth is lost, whether to an injury or decay, if the empty space left behind is not occupied the structure of the mouth can begin to alter as a result. This can lead to progressive adverse effects that should be reviewed with Dr. Dyras, Dr. Hutcheson or Dr. Zaluski. To start, the immediate area where the tooth is lost suffers adverse changes in the bone and gum support, typically in the form of tissue loss.
These changes can spread to the neighboring teeth, resulting in loss of bone support and the teeth drifting into the vacated space. Additionally, the opposing tooth begins to move into the space in a process called “over eruption”- further jeopardizing the surrounding bone structure and teeth.
These movements can lead to issues with a patient’s bite, as the teeth gradually become misaligned. As time passes the severity of damage to the mouth can escalate, as well as the measures needed to remedy it. Dr. Dyras, Dr. Hutcheson or Dr. Zaluski is the best resource to recommend a treatment plan to fit your unique situation.
Tooth Replacement Options - Implants vs. Bridges
Both a bridge and a dental implant are excellent solutions for replacing a missing tooth. In most cases, both will require multiple appointments to complete.
A bridge provides a replacement tooth by using teeth on either side of the missing tooth for support. They can generally be completed in a matter of weeks. Teeth adjacent to the missing tooth (or teeth) will need to be reduced, which may compromise healthy teeth. Since a bridge does not replace the missing root structure, you are at an increased risk of bone loss over time. Keeping a bridge clean requires frequent cleaning to prevent bacteria buildup.
Another option is a dental implant, which serves as an artificial root, anchoring the replacement tooth in place. This also helps protect and preserve the area from tissue loss and recession. An implant can be cared for just like any natural tooth. It also does not require removal of potentially healthy structure from the neighboring teeth to support it. A considerable time span is needed to complete the procedure. In such cases, Dr. Dyras, Dr. Hutcheson or Dr. Zaluski can place a temporary tooth in the empty space while you heal.
As with any procedure, many additional factors must be taken into account. Dr. Dyras, Dr. Hutcheson or Dr. Zaluski can help you make that the right choice based upon your unique needs.