If you have missing teeth that you have lost for various reasons you have more choices to consider (with a help of your dentist) to determine the best solution for your problem.
There are mainly two recommended tooth replacement options available: the bridge and the implant.
Bridge or implant?
The dental bridge is made up of two crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap, so that you’ll have two anchoring (or abutment) teeth, and a false tooth (a pontic) in between.
The rehabilitation of a gap with a dental bridge requires two strong teeth next to the missing one, in order to support the masticatory forces instead of the pontic tooth. For the application of a dental bridge system, abutments or anchoring teeth should be prepared.
The preparation involves recontouring of the adjacent teeth of the gap by removing a part of enamel to free room for a crown to be placed over them. For placing the the bridge requires the sacrifice of the enamel and the top of the two lateral teeth, if these are completely healthy, perhaps it would be appropriate to choose the implantation in order to avoid damaging them. On the other hand, if adjacent teeth have some imperfections (as for the shape, strength or colour), recontouring them might be useful and justifiable.
Bridge or implant - advantages and disadvantages
- The dental bridge requires much more careful oral hygiene than normally. Food can slip under the area of the pontic, however, the bridge is designed to minimise this as much as possible. Bacteria can easily nestle on the filed teeth and cause problems.
- If you have more than one teeth to replace, and they are only one side of the mouth, a bridge could be the best choice.
- As for the filed teeth have to bear an additional masticatory load, they need to be suitable for this purpose, and therefore have to be healthy, of adequate size and without inflammation or infection.
- The bridge does not require surgery, while the implant does.
- The plant often cannot be immediately loaded with a crown, so you have to wait (and wear a temporary prosthesis) a few months before having the final crown.
The current reliability of the surgical protocols of the implantation, the evolution of the materials used in dentistry and a huge amount of experience with osseointegrated implants make the implant the first choice in standard cases.
The bridge remains a valuable aid in all situations, when the implant is not recommended, or the cost-benefit ratio is supporting a solution with a dental bridge for your problem.