Are Dental Implants or Bridges Better for Replacing Missing Teeth?

A patient emailed me and asked what options she had for cosmetic dentistry and implant dentistry to replace a missing front tooth that was knocked out when she was 9 years old. The following explains three choices in this situation and the pros and cons of each:

There are usually several options to replacing a missing tooth.  It is hard to provide information on specific cases  without seeing a patient.  Generally speaking there are 3 options:

1) Dental implant

2) Full fixed dental bridge

3) Lingually bonded bridge

Dental implants (option 1): is often a really viable option as it does not involve grinding of the adjacent teeth.  The unknown is how much bone is still there if your tooth was knocked out at 9 years old.  If there is not sufficient bone, a bone graft can be considered. The gum tissue is also a consideration, if it has shrunk away, sometimes a soft tissue graft can be accomplished at the same time that the bone graft is done.  These steps could be necessary to ensure long term success and long term esthetics.

A dental bridge could be a nice option if there are already large fillings in the adjacent teeth and these teeth need to be restored anyway.  If your adjacent teeth are healthy, the disadvantage is having to grind these healthy teeth for crowns to support the missing tooth in the bridge.

A lingually bonded bridge can sometimes be used depending on your bite and how much room there is between the upper and lower teeth.  Minimal or no tooth reduction is necessary in these cases. These are not always as strong as a dental implant or fixed bridge.

Cosmetically, with any of the above options,  to get an undetectable crown to blend in with your natural teeth is an artistic and scientific challenge but it can be done in the hands of a skilled cosmetic dentist.

If you have questions regarding Houston Cosmetic Dentist or Houston Dental Implants, please feel free to contact our office, Ronald W. Konig DDS, FAGD, LVIF 713-668-2289

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