Missing Lateral Incisors: Implants versus Bridges

This is a common question that our patients ask for adults and for their kids.  The lateral incisor is commonly a congentially missing tooth. It is always best to leave space for this tooth orthodontically as opposed to moving the cuspids into this space.  Better from a functional bite perspective and from a cosmetic dentistry perspective. On children, after orthodontics, implants are not an option until ages 18-21 (depending on the individual child).  The choices are to either wear a retainer or flipper for years or to utilize what is called a “lingually bonded dental bridge.”  This is a porcelain tooth with “wings” on the back sides of the adjacent teeth. In most cases, this can be accomplished without grinding any tooth away.  This allows the bridges to be removed and dental implants placed at the appropriate age.   In the case below, there are two missing teeth and two lingual bonded bridges that were custom shaded to get a beautiful match.

missing lateral incisors

Lingually bonded porcelain bridges

In adults, if the adjacent teeth are perfectly healthy, implants are truly the treatment of choice as you do not have grind down the adjacent teeth.  The technology that we have today, from 3D scans for implants to see exactly where the bone is to custom abutments and crowns to help us with esthetics is outstanding. If you have any questions about Houston Cosmetic Dentsitry or Houston Dental Implants, please feel free to contact our office, Ronald W. Konig DDS, FAGD, LVIF  713-668-2289

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