Wisdom Teeth: Removal, Maintenance and Cavity Prevention

Why a Signal Tooth Implant Is Better Than a Bridge

You may have had a tooth removed due to decay but want to have a complete set of teeth once again. This may allow you to have a fuller smile, but perhaps more importantly it should help you chew more effectively. You may have been told that you need a bridge, but did you know that you can get a single tooth implant instead? What are the benefits?

The Stand-Alone Option

The beauty of having a single tooth implant is that it doesn't affect the neighbouring teeth at all and is, if you like, a 'stand-alone' option. When you fit a bridge, the teeth on either side of the missing tooth need to be altered so that they can in turn support the artificial tooth. Typically, those other teeth will have to be ground down to do this.

What's Wrong with the Bridge?

One of the other drawbacks of a bridge is that the new tooth is being supported by the bridge itself and is not as sturdy as it would be if the tooth was implanted. This is because the implant will take up the place of the old root and will help to preserve the bone structure beneath. In turn, the teeth all around this location benefit from having a stronger and more intact bone structure.

Looking at this from the long-term perspective, a single implant will also be easier to keep clean than a bridge. This is because your gums can in recede and part of the collar may become exposed with a bridge. It's also possible that the material holding the bridge can become dislodged and bacteria may be able to find its way in.

The Procedure

Typically, the dentist will first create an opening to receive the cylinder into which the implant will be placed. This requires some time for the base to be accepted by the bone and gum around it. While this process of healing takes place, the dentist will fit a temporary replacement tooth.

Note that it is sometimes necessary for a second and interim procedure to be undertaken where the dentist will fit an extension to the original cylinder, ready for the final new tooth to be placed.

The new tooth (called the crown) is eventually attached to a small post made of metal. It is then inserted into the cylinder and creates a permanent, long-lasting replacement.

It's best to discuss your particular case with your dentist to see if you are a good candidate for dental implants.