Last September, I had a root canal that went bad. My dentist tried to save the tooth, but he couldn’t. So last week, he extracted the tooth. It’s a front tooth, too. I’m going back and forth with whether to replace it with a dental bridge or an implant. And I’m not sure if I’ll let my dentist do the work or find a new dentist to do it. Other than the cost, would I be making a mistake if I asked for a bridge? Thanks, Octavia from Charleston, SC
There are several factors to consider when you have a missing tooth. It is essential to replace the tooth for function and appearance, but you should consider the long-term effects of treatment on your budget and your oral health.
Dental Implant vs. Bridge
Dental implant considerations: If you receive a dental implant, it will not affect teeth on either side of the missing one. A dentist or surgeon places the implant in your jawbone. After a healing period, your dentist will attach a dental crown. You can get an implant and a temporary replacement tooth on the same day. Dental implants are generally more expensive than a dental bridge, but they are also permanent. The implant will look and feel like your natural teeth. High-quality implants can last a lifetime.
Dental bridge considerations: The bridge work will be less expensive than an implant. The tooth on either side of the missing tooth must be shaved down for the bridge to fit over it. The missing tooth is suspended between the two crowns. If you take good care of it, a bridge can last ten to fifteen years. It will eventually need to be replaced.
In either case, select an artistic cosmetic dentist to do the work. Whether you choose a dental implant or a bridge, you will get natural-looking results. If you choose an implant, avoid looking for cheap implants or insisting on getting the lowest cost for them. Costly implant mistakes can occur when shortcuts are taken.
We suggest that you schedule consultations with at least two cosmetic dentists to discuss your options and the cost.
San Antonio dentist Dr. Gilberto Tostado sponsors this post.