Dental Implants are Superior to Bridges:
In the past bridges were used to replace missing teeth. A lot of older dentist still use as their main way of replacing missing teeth. These dentists have not stayed current with the latest techniques and technologies.
“Tooth loss is still a major health problem,
however old fashioned bridges are not the solution”
Michael R. Nugent DDS
The case against Dental Bridges:
Old fashioned bridges damage healthy teeth. The most common use of a dental bridge is to replace a single tooth. In order to accomplish this, the healthy teeth next to the missing teeth have to be severely cut down. Then the bridge is cemented into place. The bridge literally “bridges” the gap by crowning the two adjacent teeth (which will act as anchors) and placing a fake tooth in the middle. The long term survival rate for bridges is not that encouraging. The survival rate for bridges is only 50% at the ten year mark. The aggressive cutting on the anchor teeth causes an increased risk for those anchor teeth to need root canals. The bridge is one solid piece. This causes hygiene problems and difficulties in keeping the bridge clean. Patients cannot easily floss between the teeth. Anchor teeth frequently get cavities because of the difficulty of cleaning. Then a completely new bridge must be made at an additional expense. Often the anchor tooth is so comprised that additional anchor teeth must be cut down to create a larger bridge. A larger multi-tooth problem is created when the original problem was only a one tooth problem. The other main reason why bridges fail is due to failed root canals on the anchor teeth. At the minimum a new root canal (another expense) will be needed. Or if the root canal tooth is fractured then the tooth has to be extracted and the patient now has a very large problem to deal with. Remember, the initial problem was only a single missing tooth. When a bridge fails it creates large multi-tooth problems.
The beauty of dental implants is that a single missing tooth is replaced with a single dental implant. No innocent adjacent teeth need to be cut down. The restored dental implant is composed of titanium and porcelain and CANNOT get decay. The dental implant will NEVER need root canal treatment. Patients can brush and floss just like natural teeth. The dental implant is designed from the root to the crown to mimic natural teeth. Dental implants have the longest survival rate and are the most successful long term tooth replacement option. Dr. Nugent’s Father, Mother, Father-in-law and Mother-in-law all had situations come up where they lost a single tooth. Dr. Nugent did dental implants on all of his family members because Dr. Nugent wanted the best treatment option and the longest lasting treatment option for his family.
A bridge does NOTHING to preserve the bone and gum tissue levels. The old saying “if you don’t use it you lose it” hold true in dentistry. When a tooth is lost there is no longer any stimulation to the gum tissue and bone. Over time the bone and gum tissue disappear. When a bridge is used to replace a missing tooth this bone and gum tissue loss can create large food traps. Furthermore, if the bridge is in the front it creates an ugly space underneath the bridge when a patient smiles. A bridge does not stimulate the bone or gum tissue.
A dental implant stimulates bone and gum tissue. The dental implant is placed in the jawbone and chewing forces are transmitted from the dental implant tooth to the gum tissue and bone. This stimulation preserves the bone and gum tissue.
The cost of a bridge to replace a single tooth is comparable to the cost of a single dental implant. However, the tremendous benefits and longevity of dental benefits clearly make dental implants the superior treatment.