What are the benefits of a dental implant compared to a bridge?
A dental implant is essentially a replacement root. With a dental implant, only the missing tooth is being restored without the need for modification of the surrounding teeth. An implant retains the bone that can be lost when a tooth is extracted, and there are no longer any chewing forces to keep the bone strong in that area. With a bridge, it is necessary to prepare the teeth on either side of the missing tooth for crowns even if they are perfectly healthy to “bridge” the area of the missing tooth with a false tooth. An implant can be used to replace a far back molar that does not have a tooth behind it to bridge to. Bridges are an excellent restorative choice in many situations and used to be one of the only fixed ways to restore a missing tooth before there were implants. But, there can be a challenge when cleaning around the bridge. It is important for implants to thoroughly clean under the bridge where the tooth used to be to avoid recurrent decay at the edges of the bridge. Implants are also excellent to restore missing teeth and can be used in places that a bridge can’t. Implants do require an adequate amount of bone to anchor them and may require additional procedures to increase the bone in the area if there isn’t enough to support an implant. Everyone is different. Dr. Dhoon will help you to know what option is best for you.