Despite all efforts to save a tooth, sometimes the damage is too severe and the tooth cannot be restored. Damage to the tooth can be caused by an accident that harms the tooth beyond repair, gum disease or a severe infection. In these cases, the dentists at Smile Dental Group located in Palmdale and Lancaster will recommend a tooth extraction. Having a tooth removed means that it will need to be replaced. We offer two main options for patients who unfortunately have to deal with replacing a missing tooth.
If you are faced with a single missing tooth, making the right decision on what to replace it with might be overwhelming. Below, we have laid out a comparison of the two main options to help you make an informed decision about which solution is best for you.
Dental Implant Supported Crown
A dental implant is made of up three parts: the post, an abutment, and the dental crown. The implant is actually a titanium post that resembles a screw. It is surgically implanted into the jaw bone to replace the missing tooth’s root. During the next three to six months, the implant will fuse with the jaw bone and heal. The next step is to attach a small piece called an abutment. This will only require a few weeks of healing then the dentist will attach the dental crown. The total amount of time it will take to have an implant supported crown placed is up to seven months. It could take longer depending on if any pre-treatments are needed or shorter if you heal fast.
The traditional method to replace a tooth is with a dental bridge. A bridge is a fixed dental restoration that is made up of two dental crowns on both ends with the replacement tooth (the pontic) in between them. The crowns and the pontic are fused together to create the bridge. The two teeth adjacent to the gap will need to be prepared to accommodate the crowns. They will be grinded down and the bridge will be cemented into place. Having a bridge placed will require two visits. At the first visit, the dentist will prepare the two teeth and take impressions. The bridge will be fabricated and ready to attach in about two weeks. At the second visit, the dental bridge will be cemented into place.
Comparing The Two Options
A dental implant is the more natural of the two options and offers more benefits. The greatest benefit being that the implant will help preserve the jaw structure by stimulating the bone which will prevent bone loss. This will ensure that the patient never suffers from a sunken in face due to jaw bone deterioration.
A dental implant will only replace the one tooth and will not require using neighboring teeth. With a dental bridge, you have to essentially damage two healthy teeth in order to replace one missing tooth. This will also put a lot of strain on two healthy teeth.
Caring for an implant supported crown is no different than caring for your natural teeth. On the contrary, caring for a dental bridge is often complicated because they are difficult and time consuming to floss.
The downside to choosing an implant to replace the missing tooth is the amount of time it takes to complete the process and the total cost. A dental bridge will cost just a fraction of what an implant costs and can be placed in as little as two weeks.
The dentists at Smile Dental Group located in Palmdale, CA and Lancaster, CA will recommend an implant to patients who qualify for it. Your natural tooth is the best and preferred option but when an extraction is necessary, a dental implant supported crown is the next best option. Despite costing much more than a bridge, it is important to consider that it will offer a better quality of life.
Learn More About Dental Implants