There are a number of disadvantages to having a single missing tooth replaced with an old-fashioned three-unit bridge:
- The dentist must cut down natural teeth to support a bridge.
- These natural teeth, once they are prepared and cut down, may require root canal therapy.
- The patient may have to wear a removable appliance that most people find unacceptable.
- It is extremely difficult for the patient to clean under a bridge. As a result, the patient is more susceptible to tooth decay and periodontal disease.
- Bridges need to be replaced every seven to ten years.
- Bridges often look like false teeth.
- Patients tend to get bone loss in the area around bridges.
The advantages of replacing a single missing tooth with a one dental implant are many:
- I regard an implant-supported tooth as a permanent tooth replacement With proper home care and regular dental visits, a dental implant can last for decades or even a lifetime.
- They are easy for the patient to maintain with good daily dental hygiene habits.
- Dental implants stimulate bone and prevent bone loss.
- Dental implants look, feel, and function just like natural teeth.
- There is a great benefit of improved appearance. A conventional bridge often looks artificial but dental implants look very natural.
- A person’s quality of life is enhanced because implant supported teeth are like new, natural teeth. People can eat, smile, laugh—basically go about their daily lives with complete confidence.
- Dental implants are a great investment in one’s health. Because they are natural looking, long-lasting, and can be easily maintained with daily hygiene and regular visits to the dentists, dental implants are much more cost-effective in the long run than bridges that cause problems and need to be replaced when they wear out.
For all these reasons, I tell my patients that dental implants are now the modern standard of care for replacing missing teeth.
Dr. Leonard Spector