Three Situations That May Make A Dental Bridge Your Best Bet For Replacing A Missing Tooth
These days, many people who are missing teeth have them replaced with dental implants, which are posts that extend into the jaw, replacing not just the crown of the tooth, but the roots as well. Implants are considered the premier option for replacing teeth in most cases, since they prevent the roots from shifting and feel just like natural teeth. However, there are some situations in which a dental bridge -- which is a replacement of only the crown portion of the missing tooth -- may be a better option for tooth replacement. If one or more of these situations are true for you, then you should talk to your dentist about the possibility of a bridge instead of just assuming implants are the way to go.
Situation #1: You are on a very tight budget.
Implants are not cheap. The cost of a single dental implant ranges from $1500 to $7500. Since many insurance plans consider implant surgery to be a cosmetic procedure, there's a good chance you'll need to come up with most, if not all, of this money on your own. This leads some patients on tight budgets to avoid replacing their missing teeth altogether; this is not good for your dental health or self-esteem.
Opting for a bridge, which will cost somewhere between $745 and $1275 if you choose a porcelain and metal bridge or slightly more if you go with all porcelain, may make replacing your tooth promptly a possibility. It is often better for your oral health to replace a missing tooth with a bridge soon after it is removed than to wait several years for an implant. During this waiting period, the surrounding teeth may shift, creating the need for additional corrective procedures.
Situation #2: You've been missing the tooth for a long period of time.
When you lose a tooth and do nothing about it for years, the jaw bone in the area where that tooth once was begins to shrink. Once this occurs, the possibility of an implant properly anchoring into the bone is diminished. If you go through with implant surgery, you may end up having to have the implant removed several months down the road anyway due to your lack of bone. Many dentists will perform bone grafts in patients who do not have enough jaw bone to support implants, but this is an involved surgical procedure and will require you to then wait several more months before the implants can be placed.
A bridge is supported by the teeth neighboring the missing teeth -- not the jaw bone -- so as long as those neighboring teeth are in good shape, it remains a good option if you've been putting off replacing your tooth for several years.
Situation #3: You have health problems that make surgery dangerous.
Dental implants are inserted during a surgical procedure. Your body must be healthy enough to make it through surgery and to then heal from that surgery in order for you to be a candidate. If you have an immune system disease like HIV/AIDS or lupus, it may not be safe for you to undergo implant surgery, and thus a bridge may be your best option, since no surgery is required to insert it.
There are many dentists who will not perform dental implant surgeries on diabetics because they fear they won't heal well. However, there are new studies which suggest that diabetics are as likely as normal individuals to recover well after implant surgery. Thus, if you're a diabetic, you should have a discussion with your dentist regarding whether an implant is a possibility or if you're better off sticking with a bridge. If you have struggled to control your diabetes and have dealt with poor healing in the past, you may feel most comfortable simply having a bridge put in place.
Dental bridges may not be as common as they once were, but for patients who cannot afford implants, don't have enough bone to support them, or have conditions that make surgery dangerous, a bridge is still a good tooth-replacement choice. For more information, contact a professional dentist, like those found at http://rosecitydental.com/.