Tooth loss affects many, in fact the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons reports that 69 percent of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth due to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal, or tooth decay.
There are several services available for replacing these teeth, the most popular being dental implants and bridges.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth that is attached to the jaw bone on a titanium post. The process of getting a dental implant involves:
- An initial consultation by dentist or oral surgeon is required to determine if you are a suitable candidate. Candidates must have sufficient bone tissue to hold the post. Bone grafts can be done in some cases to help with this.
- Your dental specialist will prepare the implant site and place the implant.
- After implantation, you will wait 2 to 4 months for the osseointegration process to occur. This is when the implant fuses together with the bone. Proper osseointegration is key for implant success.
- After healing, the surgeon will place a post just above the jawline. Then this area will be allowed to heal for a few few weeks.
- An impression of your teeth are then made and a lab will make an artificial tooth designed to fit within your existing smile.
- The artificial tooth is then placed.
BENEFITS OF DENTAL IMPLANTS
- Dental implants are long lasting and extremely durable.
- They can be matched perfectly.
- They do not affect adjacent teeth.
- Because they are artificial, they don’t decay like real teeth.
- High success rate. The American Association of Endodontists reports that 98.5 percent of all dental implant procedures are successful.
Dental bridges replace teeth with a prosthetic, but instead of attaching the prosthetic with a titanium post, the prosthetic anchored on the healthy teeth adjacent to it. The process of getting a dental bridge involves:
- The adjacent teeth are prepared by the removal of a small amount of enamel followed by the fitting of the bridge, which is a single unit that includes crowns or caps for the healthy adjacent teeth and the prosthetic for the missing tooth in the middle. Sometimes these adjacent teeth are called abutment teeth.
BENEFITS OF DENTAL BRIDGES
While bridges have been successfully used for decades, implants are slowly becoming a more popular option because they are less invasive on the surrounding healthy teeth. However, bridges are still a great option for restoring your smile.
- They are typically less expensive and are less invasive than dental implants.
- The process is less involved than a dental implant.
- Dentists estimate that bridges need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years.