How to Decide?
Answer the following questions:
- Are you okay paying extra to receive the best treatment?
- Can you afford the dental implants comfortably? Either cash upfront, financed or over several payments.
- Are the teeth next to the missing tooth virgin teeth, meaning they don’t have a filling or crown on them? Or maybe a small filling at most.
- You don’t need crowns on the teeth next to the missing gap? “no” means you do need crowns on several teeth, including the ones that are adjacent to the missing tooth, which can happen during a bad accident.
- You don’t have any medical problems that prohibits you from getting a surgery? Like a recent heart attack or if you are on a blood thinner.
- Have you had problems with pain and infection with crowns and bridges in the past? Like ending up with a root canal after a crown or ending up losing a tooth that received a crown or root canal soon after you got the treatment completed.
- You are less than 40 years old?
If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then you probably should favor getting dental implants over bridges.
If you answered “no” to most of the above questions then maybe a bridge is more suitable for you after all.
The main reason we prefer a dental implant over a bridge is because dental implants do not compromise the health of other teeth. In order to receive a dental bridge there are two teeth, at a minimum, which have to be shaven down to attach the bridge onto. These teeth become susceptible to further problems and may require root canals or even extraction should they fail. You may start off with a dental bridge to replace a single missing tooth but as the supporting teeth are damaged over time you now require a longer span bridge and must extend it. And over the decades you may find yourself losing all of your teeth in that side of the mouth having started off with just a single missing tooth and a dental bridge which failed and lead to the loss of numerous other teeth.
f you are instructed by your physician to avoid surgical procedures then you can not receive a dental implant and a dental bridge might be your only option at this time. Uncontrolled diabetes, radiation therapy to the jaws, heavy smoking, aggressive bone diseases affecting your jaws, or a recent heart attack are just some conditions which may compromise the success rate dental implants. There are also be dental conditions which adversely affect placement of dental implants for instance you may not have enough bone left in place for the placement of the implant. As a result you might not be able to receive dental implants without additional surgeries to establish sufficient bone to the region or your bone may be so weak that your dentist would advise against it altogether. You might just be better off going with the dental bridge in these circumstances or you may need to seek a second opinion to see if there is some way that bone can be restored to the region.
NEXT >> Replacing a Missing Tooth: Dental Bridge
Replacing a Missing Tooth: Dental Implant
1. Dental Implants have better longevity. Once a dental implant has been placed successfully and has completed healing it will integrate and fuse with your jaw bone and is very unlikely to ever fail. There are far less do-overs with successful dental implants as opposed to dental bridges. The problem with dental bridges is that you gradually lose your supporting jaw bone with age and the area underneath the dental bridge can become exposed to food and bacteria. As a result, most dental bridges have to be redone over time and will rarely last you forever. Also when dental bridges is redone often times they will require either additional root canal treatments or require the removal of existing supporting tooth which have failed to further extend the bridge onto other teeth thus causing additional trauma and damage to more teeth.
2. Dental Implants are the more conservative treatment. To place a dental implant your dentist will drill the implant into your jaw bone. While this may sound scary, it is actually quite safe and easy and has no negative consequence if done carefully to avoid vital tissues. Dental implants can pretty much be placed anywhere you have sufficient jaw bone so they are quite versatile and can pretty much replace any missing tooth. Dental bridges on the other hand will require the drilling of adjacent teeth. This does have negative consequences as it does undermine these teeth and may lead to pain or infection over time. Also dental bridges have certain limitations and can not replace any gap.
- If you are missing your furthest located tooth you can’t replace it with a bridge as there is no tooth behind it to anchor the bridge onto.
- If you are missing multiple teeth next to each other, the adjacent teeth may not be strong enough to support a long-span bridge and it may not be a viable option.
- If your remaining teeth are weak with poor bone support and lots of root canals, a bridge is very likely to fail within the first few years.
3. It is easier to clean and maintain a dental implant. A dental implant essentially gives you the equivalent of a whole fake tooth which is easy to clean and maintain. A dental bridge simply closes the gap with a fake tooth supported on both sides by your own teeth so all bridges have a gap underneath them where the missing tooth was originally located. This gap remains highly susceptible to trapping food particles and can create problems such as bleeding or bad breath. Even a well made bridge may sit flush against your gums now but as you gradually lose bone over the years it may worsen and start to create a food trap.
NEXT >> Replacing a Missing Tooth: How to Decide
Replacing a Missing Tooth: Dental Bridge
An unfortunate tooth ended up with a root canal. Once you received the root canal you went in to receive the crown. The dentist explained that your tooth will also require a post to help buildup and strengthen it. As if the root canal and crown wasn’t costing you enough now you have to pay for whatever this post is supposed to be! You try to convince your dentist to proceed without a post to cut costs but since you’re not even sure what this post is you have no leg to stand on and lose the argument! So what is this dental post and when is it really necessary? Or could you ever actually fix a root canal treated tooth without using this post?
Pros of Placing a Dental Post
1. The post fills the void created by the root canal treatment. To perform a root canal your dentist or endodontist must shave off enough tooth structure to gain access to the roots and nerves. Subsequently a substantial amount of tooth is removed which needs to be replaced prior to the placement of the crown. You can’t just leave this void empty or your tooth will crack under bite pressure. There are two methods to fill this void either a core buildup or a post.
- A core buildup is a type of filling material similar to filling that fills the void. The core buildup works well when there hasn’t been a lot of tooth structure removed.
- A dental post is a sturdy screw-like restoration which is inserted into one of the tooth canals after a root canal.
A post is usually necessary when more tooth structure has been removed. The more tooth structure is removed during the root canal treatment, the more crucial the placement of a post becomes. A core buildup alone can not hold up over time and may fall out or become loose.
2. The post retains holds everything together. The major role of a dental post is to hold in place the filling material which seals the void created after a root canal treatment. Without a post in place the buildup material could get loose and fall off along with the crown. If this happens you must redo the entire crown process or even risk losing the tooth altogether! The post plays a crucial role in ensuring that the buildup material is held securely in place. It essentially brings everything together.
- We even run into cases where once the patient presents to pick up their permanent crown the entire core buildup is dislodged upon removing the temporary. This only happens because the dentist neglected to place a post in place and instead went with the core buildup alone. Now you are stuck redoing the entire procedure but with a post in place this time around!
3. The post provides a better foundation. You can’t build a sturdy house without laying a solid foundation first. Similarly, to place a crown on a root canal treated tooth you require a solid foundation for long-term success. The post helps improve the overall retention and durability of the tooth. Root canal treated teeth are more likely to fail over the years than your other teeth and it is not uncommon to have either the crown fall off or even worse the entire crown portion fracture off the tooth. Often times once this occurs you end up losing the tooth and will require a dental implant. A post can help in preventing these scenarios and may substantially extend the longevity of the root canal treated tooth.
Placing a Post in a Root Canal Treated Tooth: How to Decide