Implants vs Bridges
Dental implants have become widely popular for tooth replacement simply because traditional dentures and bridges are not fixed to the bone. Because they are unstable, it can be especially difficult to eat or smile with confidence.
Dental implants also look more natural than dentures or bridges, and they feel and act more like natural teeth with a stronger biting force.
You may only be a candidate for dental implant surgery if you are in good health in both your mouth and body. This means you should not have any gum disease or any other infection/condition in your mouth. It is important that your jawbone has enough density and volume to hold the dental implant securely. Whereas, dental bridges require you to be healthy and ready to maintain your restoration.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a method of restoring missing teeth and are composed of two components. The first part is the implant itself, which is a piece of titanium that’s shaped like a screw. This piece of metal is surgically placed into your jaw bone and gum tissue, and sutured into place to heal. Over a period of about 3-6 months, it fuses permanently with the bone and becomes a natural part of your mouth, functioning as an artificial tooth root.
The second part is the implant-supported restoration. For single-tooth restorations, this is a false tooth (dental crown) that attaches to one implant. However, multiple implants can be used to support a bridge to replace multiple teeth, or even to replace a full arch of missing teeth with implant-supported dentures.
Implants look and feel completely natural, last longer than any other method of tooth replacement, and do not require much special care, making them the best option for replacing missing teeth.
Can I Go Without An Implant If I Have A Missing Tooth?
If you are interested in getting a dental implant, we recommend getting treatment as soon as possible. It’s not typically a good idea to go without treatment if you have a missing tooth. There are a few reasons for this.
First, one or more missing teeth can interfere with your ability to speak clearly and eat your favorite foods, and having missing teeth may also make you feel embarrassed about your appearance and affect your self-esteem. Getting an implant can help with all of these issues.
In addition, it’s usually much easier to get an implant within a year of losing your tooth. This is because, over time, your jaw bone will weaken after you lose a tooth. If you wait too long, you may need additional surgery such as a bone graft to get a dental implant. But if you are treated within a year of tooth loss, you can usually avoid this, since your jaw bone will still be strong enough for an implant.
Teeth shifting is another common complication of tooth loss that can cause issues if you don’t have your tooth replaced with an implant after you lose a tooth. When you lose a tooth, the surrounding teeth may shift slightly toward the area where your missing tooth used to be. This can ruin the alignment of your smile. Dental implants help prevent this.
How Long Do Implants Last?
Most patients will keep their implants for the rest of their lives. It’s very common for implants to last more than 30 years with proper care and maintenance. Compared to other methods of smile restoration such as dental bridges and partial dentures, implants last much longer.
It’s important to note, though, that implant-supported restorations such as bridges and crowns may wear out sooner, since they are exposed to wear & tear from biting, chewing, and smiling. It’s common for dental implant restorations to last 10-15 years or longer, but you should see a dentist like Dr. Marwa Forest or Dr. Keith Schulhof for regular appointments to ensure your restorations stay in good shape.
Are You a Candidate for Implants?
In addition to their equipment being all state-of-the-art, Dr. Forest and the rest of her staff have a hands-on approach. They didn’t just tell me what I was doing wrong or what they were seeing in my teeth; they showed me and walked me through what the x-rays looked like and proper techniques to follow. I was able to see and understand exactly what they were telling me. If you are looking for a dentist, your search is over!
Carl M. (Mint Dental Patient)