When faced with a decision on how to replace a missing tooth (or whether to replace it at all), patients should consider long-term factors in addition to any short-term concerns.
Patients have a number of options for tooth replacement, including dental implants, conventional dentures or dental bridges. Each treatment is unique and will have different effects on your oral health.
Dental implants tend to be the most durable and stable tooth replacement method. So, while the initial cost of dental implants may seem higher than the alternatives, those lower price-tags don’t reflect the cost of replacement appliances, potential damage to other teeth and other possible effects of dentures and bridges. [pullquote]Dental implants tend to be the most durable and stable tooth replacement method. [/pullquote]
Unlike dentures and bridges, the dental implant becomes a fixture in the patient’s jaw after the implant dentist places the implant. The bone forms a bond with the titanium implant, replacing the root structure underneath the gumline, in addition to the visible crown portion of the tooth.
This characteristic of dental implants preserves the integrity of the jawbone, reducing the chances that the implant will need to be replaced. In comparison, as the contour of the jaw changes, a denture or bridge will lose its fit. Temporary fixes will only go so far, and eventually the appliance will need to be replaced.
Furthermore, a dental bridge also affects surrounding teeth, which must be fitted with crowns to support the prosthetic tooth or teeth. That process requires the removal of healthy tooth enamel, which can weaken the tooth in the long term, potentially requiring additional treatments.
If you decide not to replace the tooth at all, the outcomes can be even more significant. The other teeth may shift to fill in the empty space and they may need to withstand unusually strong chewing forces because of the absence of other teeth that would assist in that function. Ultimately, the teeth may be damaged
Long-term costs associated with tooth replacement can vary widely depending on the chosen method. Work closely with your dentist or implant dentist to consider the durability and stability of your tooth replacement device. To learn more about your tooth replacement options, contact the office of Dr. Gardner at at 516-484-6394 and schedule your professional consultation today.
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