Poway and Rancho Bernardo, CA
Approximately 178 million Americans have lost at least one permanent tooth. Are you one of them? If so, you probably have looked into ways to fill the gap in your smile. While dental implants are considered the finest method of tooth replacement today, sometimes a dental bridge might be a better choice. Read on as your restorative dentist in Poway, Dr. Nicol Cook, explores this topic.
Bridges and implants share several advantages
Both are fixed in the mouth—unlike partial dentures, which have to be removed and may have support structures that exert pressure on the remaining natural teeth in your mouth. Both bridges and implants are relatively lightweight; they allow you to bite normally and help you regain your chewing ability. They’re also easy to maintain. You can brush and floss a dental bridge or implant like you would your natural teeth. They both also look natural, especially when placed by a skilled dentist like Dr. Cook in Poway. She can make sure your replacement tooth blends seamlessly into your smile.
Everything sounds good so far, but what are their differences?
Implants have more benefits than bridges, over the long run
If you lose a permanent tooth, eventually, you’re going to have to deal with the deterioration of your supporting bone structure. This occurs because the jawbone no longer is receiving the constant stimulation that was provided by the root of the now-missing tooth. A dental bridge does nothing to prevent this bone loss. An implant, however, replaces that stimulation as the implant screw itself is inserted surgically to replace the missing tooth’s root. Implants also are virtually permanent. Maintain good dental hygiene, and an implant could last the rest of your life, whereas the average lifespan of a dental bridge is 10-15 years.
When is a dental bridge a better treatment choice than a dental implant?
Here are a few situations where a bridge can be a superior method of treatment:
- Avoiding surgery – Having an implant placed in your jawbone is a surgical procedure. Even though this is a relatively minor operation, some people resist the idea of surgery whenever possible.
- Bone loss – If you’ve been living with missing teeth for a long time, you may have a significant amount of jawbone loss, which might not make you a good candidate to receive a dental implant.
- Damage to surrounding teeth – If the teeth adjacent to the missing one have sustained damage and need crowns to prevent total failure, this can be done as part of the process of placing a dental bridge. This may be a cost-effective option to replace your missing tooth and address the adjacent problem teeth.
How to replace my missing tooth in Poway
Replacing a missing tooth is important to your oral health, but you should know that you have options. That’s why Dr. Cook prefers to meet with each patient for a consultation. At this meeting, she will review your dental history, any other conditions that may interfere with your treatment, and discuss your needs and desires for a confident smile. To schedule an appointment, please call (858) 673-0141 or contact Smiles by Dr. Cook today. We welcome patients in Poway and Rancho Bernardo, California.