If you have one or more missing teeth, you probably already know how it can affect your self-esteem. Embarrassing gaps left behind by extracted teeth can make you reluctant to talk or smile around other people. But did you know that it can cause other health problems, too?
Restoring a missing tooth is important to your overall oral health. Over time, your other teeth may shift into the gap left behind from an extraction, causing misalignment of your teeth. This can create bite problems and put undue stress on your remaining teeth, leading to further tooth loss. The jawbone itself can also start to reabsorb, causing a sunken appearance to your face and loosening surrounding teeth.
The two most common methods of restoring a missing tooth are bridges and implants. But which one should you choose? They both have pros and cons, and Hillsboro dentists Dr. Ryan Smith and Dr. John Smith would like to explore them with you to help you make the best choice for you and your teeth.
Surgical dental implants are fast becoming the restoration of choice among dentists, and the reason is simple: implants are as close as technology has come to replacing your natural teeth. With a titanium implant fused directly to your jawbone, we can craft a restoration for one or more teeth that is beautiful, natural-looking, sturdy, and will last for years to come.
Implants do have some drawbacks, however. The cost can be prohibitive, and not all insurance companies cover implants. If you require bone grafts to support the implant, this can drive the cost higher. Choosing implants is also a time commitment. The implant site takes several months to fully heal and fuse into place, and during this time you will be without a tooth on the implant site.
Dental bridges are generally a lower-cost alternative to implants. Bridges can be used to replace one or more missing teeth by literally "bridging" the gap. Bridges are held in place by crowns that are anchored to healthy teeth on either side of the site of the missing teeth, and they hold the crafted false teeth in place. Bridges give you a very natural, invisible restoration of missing teeth.
Bridges do require removal of healthy tooth material. The teeth on either side of the bridge that will support the crowns, called "abutments," must be prepared for the crown, which requires them to be ground down and shaped. Bridges can also come loose, just like cemented crowns come loose. If decay gets beneath the abutment crowns, the entire bridge may be lost.
Bridges and Implants: Restore Your Smile Today
Whether you're interested in a bridge, a surgical dental implant, or still aren't sure which is the best choice for your situation, we can help! Call our Hillsboro dental office today to schedule a consultation and find out more about the restoration options that are available to improve your smile and increase your oral health.