Missing a permanent tooth can be detrimental to your oral health and your confidence. If a tooth is missing long enough, it can affect your bite and even cause your bone to deteriorate. There are options to replace your missing teeth so that you can look and feel better! 

Fixed Bridge

A bridge consists of crowns that slide over the two existing teeth that surround the space where a tooth is missing. These crowns are secured so they don't move. Between the two crowns, a false tooth fills the gap.

There are many benefits to having a bridge. No surgery is involved, and it is a fairly quick and easy process when compared to dental implants.  A dental bridge is essentially pain free, and tends to be less expensive than implants. It looks like the rest of your teeth, and no one will know that it is even there!  Bridges are also an option regardless of the health of the jaw bone.

However, the process of getting a bridge does affect the surrounding teeth. In order to place the crowns, teeth must be filed down. These teeth do become more prone to decay and disease. The bone where the permanent tooth is missing is likely to deteriorate, and your gums might also deteriorate. Bridges typically need replaced every ten to fifteen years.

Dental Implants

Implant dentistry involves multiple steps. In the first step, a titanium rod is placed in the mouth where the permanent tooth is missing. This little piece of hardware looks similar to a screw, and bonds with the bone in a way similar to a regular tooth and root. After this placement, the rod needs to sit for about 2-6 weeks. In the next step, the dentist will uncover the piece of titanium and attach a small extension to it. Some time, usually around two weeks, is needed for healing to occur. The final step involves a crown being placed over and attached to the extension. 

A dental implant can be done for one tooth or multiple teeth. A full denture can even be implanted! Unlike a bridge, dental implants put no strain on surrounding teeth. They are easy to clean, look natural and are long lasting. In fact, dental implants typically don't need to be replaced. Since implants bond with the bone, deterioration is unlikely to occur and your bone will remain healthy.

People who want instant gratification may be turned off by the length of the dental implant process. Dental implants tend to be more painful than a bridge, and do involve a surgical procedure. The bone in the jaw must be healthy in order for a dental implant to be successful. This could disqualify some people from receiving the procedure. It is also more expensive than a bridge.

Both bridges and dental implants have risks and benefits. Many dentists will recommend going with the dental implant if you qualify for it, but every case is different. Regardless of your choice, replacing your missing tooth will help your oral health and confidence!