There are a couple of options for replacing your missing tooth. You could get an implant or a dental bridge. They both place an artificial tooth in the gap where your real tooth is missing – they just go about it in different ways. Here are some points to consider when trying to decide which method is best.
Location Of Missing Tooth
The difference between these two procedures is the way the artificial crown is anchored in your mouth. With a bridge, the tooth is anchored to the teeth on each side. With an implant, the tooth is anchored to your jaw bone. Since the implant fuses with bone, it will be more secure. If your missing tooth is one of the primary tearing teeth in the front, or a chewing molar in the back, an implant might be a better choice. However, the difference in strength may not be enough to matter, since a bridge is cemented to nearby teeth. As long as your teeth are strong and healthy, a bridge should function well enough, no matter where it is placed.
Amount Of Bone Loss
Since an implant is drilled into your bone, you need enough bone mass for the procedure to work. If you don’t have enough bone, you may need a bone graft first, which can drive up the cost and prolong the end results. If your tooth has been missing for a long time, there’s a good chance you have some bone loss in the area. When you get an implant, the bone loss stops because the bone is stimulated each time you chew, just like it would be with a normal root in place. Bone loss doesn’t matter when you opt for a dental bridge. The artificial tooth is custom fitted into the gap, no matter what its size. The only drawback is that a bridge won’t stop bone loss. It will continue to slowly progress, as normally happens when you have a missing tooth.
A dental implant is more expensive than a dental bridge, so that may ultimately be the deciding factor. However, you need to consider other things too, such as lifespan. An implant will probably last the rest of your life, and the bridge will need to be replaced in 5-15 years. The cost of each procedure varies according the amount of work you need, especially when it comes to the surgery for an implant. As a general example, you can expect to pay over $4000 for an implant and one crown, and anywhere from $500-$3000 for a bridge that contains three crowns.
One of the main things that affects the price of a bridge is the type of material you choose for the crown. Porcelain looks the most like a natural tooth, but it is the most expensive. Resin is more affordable, and is a good choice for side or back teeth that are hidden from view. Another thing to consider is your out-of-pocket expense. You should check with your insurance carrier to verify whether either procedure is covered. Since an implant is often considered a cosmetic procedure, you may have to pay the full cost yourself. Talk to a local dentist, such as Dr Steve Mocrae, to discuss the best option for you.