Patients who have already lost one tooth to decay or disease often have extra motivation to avoid further tooth loss. Because there are a number of options for replacing those missing teeth, patients should consider how effectively those various methods prevent damage to the remaining biological teeth.
Dental implants, which essentially are artificial teeth roots, can replace an absent tooth with minimal impact to the remaining teeth.
When placing a dental implant, the periodontist will insert the titanium screw-like structure into the jawbone in a short surgical procedure. Over the next few months, the implant will osseointegrate, becoming a fixture in the jaw. The implant’s structure allows it to stand alone to support the prosthetic crown.
Dental implants also prevent jawbone erosion that occurs when biological teeth are lost. In addition to holding the crown of the tooth in place, the root also stabilizes the jawbone. When they are no longer present, the bone wears away.
Another common tooth replacement method, the fixed permanent bridge, does not meet the performance of dental implants when it comes to preserving the remaining biological teeth. Bridges require that dental crowns be placed on adjoining teeth to secure the pontic, or replacement crown. This step necessitates the removal of otherwise healthy enamel to accommodate the crown.
Because dental implants require no additional support, it’s also easier to maintain your oral hygiene. A bridge restricts access to the gumline in the vicinity. Patients who choose bridges have to use extra tools to keep the area clear of bacteria that can cause gum disease and decay in the surrounding teeth.
At the same time, bridges fail to replace the tooth’s root structure, allowing jawbone resorption to progress. This process can weaken the jawbone in the area, potentially jeopardizing the attachment of neighboring teeth.
When considering your options for tooth replacement, you should weigh the potential ramifications for your remaining teeth. It’s ideal to save natural teeth whenever possible, and dental implants are useful devices for achieving that goal.
To find out if dental implants can improve your smile while preserving your natural teeth, contact Park Cities Periodontics and Implant Dentistry to schedule an informative consultation.