It may come as a surprise, but tooth loss is actually quite common. Nearly 69 percent of adults lose at least one adult tooth between the ages of 35 and 44, and, by the time they reach 74, nearly 25 percent of Americans will lose all their teeth.
Thankfully, we live in a modern age where places like Koch Aesthetic Dentistry offers a myriad of options and a plethora of dental advancements to address lost teeth. The two most popular options for lost tooth replacement are dental implants and fixed bridges.
What are dental implants?
The support structure of a tooth includes bone, ligaments, gums, and nerves. When you lose a tooth, these all atrophy and are lost, and the surrounding areas deteriorate. It is important to remember that the teeth and bone give your face its shape, and losing them ages a person very quickly. A dental implant replaces the visible, above the gum portion of the tooth and recreates the foundation with an “artificial tooth root,” either made from titanium or a ceramic.
How does a dental implant work?
Your dentist will place the implant in the jawbone first. After a couple of months, the bone surrounding the implant should grow around the implanted “root,” and your dentist will place a crown on top of it. Dental implants are a popular option because they can promote the healing of bone structure and gums surrounding the lost tooth. It is the only way to preserve the bone.
What are the pros and cons of dental implants?
- They can last 15 years or more.
- They will retain a natural appearance longer than bridges.
- They will not damage healthy teeth around the implant.
- They will promote bone regeneration and strengthen the area underneath the missing tooth.
- They will not decay.
- A person can brush and floss them easily.
- They can look very natural.
- Dental implants are not likely to be covered by insurance.
- There is a lengthy installment process that can take up to six months.
- They are more expensive than bridges.
- They may lead to surgical complications.
What is a fixed bridge?
A fixed dental bridge attaches to the healthy teeth on either side of the gap where the missing tooth once was. Ordinarily, the two teeth on either side of the gap are shaved down, and a bridge is cemented into place, using the two shaved down teeth as supports. The bridge consists of two crowns placed on shaved down teeth and a crown that is attached to them and placed in the gap. Depending on your particular circumstances, Dr. Koch may place a Maryland bridge to cover the gap (only in the front of your mouth), which is a winged bridge embedded into the neighboring teeth instead of fully capping them.
What are the pros and cons of a fixed bridge?
- They are most likely covered by insurance.
- They do not require bone grafting or invasive surgery.
- There is a lower cost.
- Installation is usually done in two visits a few weeks apart.
- They have to be replaced every five to seven years.
- With age, they lose their natural appearance.
- They cause more cavities and tooth decay in surrounding
teeth than dental implants.
- They could damage the healthy teeth surrounding the missing tooth.
- They may cause the loss of one or more of the adjacent teeth.
Which is right for me?
Dr. Koch will advise you on which option might be best for you, looking at points like cost, number of missing teeth, time, and your overall health. If you have any questions, Dr. Koch is always here to help you.
Replacing a lost tooth is necessary for both your oral health and for aesthetic purposes. Contact us today to learn more about dental implants and fixed bridges.
Everyone wants to look their best, and as we age some things add years to our appearance. However, a visit to your cosmetic dentist can help in reversing those signs of aging with just a few safe and effective treatments. Dr. Paul Koch of Koch Aesthetic Dentistry gives his tips on ways to look your best. If you have questions visit kochaesthetics.com or call 205-933-0323.