Do you have a missing tooth or teeth? Tooth loss is more common than you think. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 69 percent of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth. Causes include injury, gum disease, unsuccessful root canals and severe tooth decay. Several therapeutic options are available if you have a lost or damaged tooth. Dental implants are a trend, offering the look and feel of a natural tooth. They can help you look and feel better and make eating and smiling comfortable again. But is a dental implant a better option than a bridge or crown? Here’s a look at the options:
How Are Dental Implants Different From Bridges and Crowns?
The main difference between dental implants and other restorative dentistry options is that implants include an artificial root that’s surgically grafted to your jawbone. Here’s a breakdown of the three primary options:
- A dental crown covers an existing tooth when you can’t repair damage or decay with a traditional filling. Crowns are excellent options for cavities too big for fillings and cracked or broken teeth. Your dentist removes the outer layer of your natural tooth to accommodate the crown, which looks like your natural tooth.
- If you lose a tooth or need one removed, your dentist may recommend a bridge. A dental bridge is an artificial tooth or teeth attached to the surrounding teeth. Your dentist attaches the bridge to those “anchor” teeth with crowns. We often recommend a bridge when patients lose more than one tooth.
- Dental implants are a growing trend for replacing missing or severely damaged teeth. A dental implant uses an artificial tooth root (usually made from titanium) attached to your jawbone with screws. On top of the artificial root is a crown made to look like a natural tooth.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges?
One advantage of a dental bridge is that it doesn’t require grafting to the bone or oral surgery. It usually requires only two or three visits to your dentist and is generally covered by dental insurance. On the downside, most bridges need to be replaced every 5 to 7 years. They can also damage the healthy teeth next to the replaced teeth and cause tooth decay in the anchor teeth.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Dental Crowns?
Your dentist may recommend a crown when the tooth has extensive damage or decay but doesn’t require complete removal. It’s less invasive than a bridge or implant and is typically a two-visit procedure. Insurance policies often cover crowns, at least partially. The drawbacks of crowns are that they are susceptible to cracking or chipping. They can be knocked loose and don’t last as long as dental implants.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Dental Implants?
Dental implants are the most natural-looking and feeling restorative dentistry option. They make it easy to chew and give patients the comfort of having their own teeth back in place. They’re also the longest-lasting choice, with a lifespan of 15 years or longer. On the downside, the implant process takes longer than a crown or bridge, requiring multiple office visits. Implants require a surgical procedure, and recovery takes time. Implants are more expensive than other restorative options but last longer, so many patients feel they are getting long-term value.
What Is The Recovery Time For Restorative Dental Procedures?
Bridges and crowns are less invasive procedures with shorter recovery times than implants. Recovery time for a crown is usually just a few days. A bridge can take a week or a little longer as your anchor teeth adjust to the new device. Complete healing can take several months with dental implants as the artificial roots integrate into your jawbone. However, the initial healing stage is shorter–only a week or two. We can generally manage pain with over-the-counter pain relievers. Most patients can return to work the same day or the following day.
What Are Cost And Insurance Considerations For Implants?
Costs vary for implants, but they average around $3,000 – $4000 per tooth. That’s at least twice as much as a crown or bridge. However, many patients view implants as a lifetime investment. Many basic dental insurance plans don’t cover dental implants. However, as insurance companies recognize their value, more policies now cover at least some of the cost of dental implant procedures. Many patients also have supplemental policies that cover implants.
Can My Family Dentist Do Implants?
Dental implants involve sophisticated surgical procedures. However, more and more family dentists are getting the training needed to perform implant dentistry. Your trusted doctors at Greenhill Family Dental Care are pleased to provide this service. Our training and experience allow us to offer this service in-office rather than referring patients to other providers. In fact, our doctors are so skilled, many other local dental practices refer their implant patients to us. If you have lost or damaged teeth, let’s start a conversation about which restorative option is best for you.