Teeth take a lot of abuse. Plaque, gingivitis, receding gum lines, a face punch, hard candy—when you consider all the abuse that teeth have to contend with, it is amazing that they last as long as they do. While some people keep their natural teeth their whole lives, it is more than likely that you will lose and have to replace at least one tooth during your life.
If that day comes, the best choice for a long-lasting, durable, natural-looking tooth is to go with a dental implant:
The Late Great Dental Bridge
In years past, the best option for replacing a tooth or two was to have your dentist install a dental bridge. Bridges are still an option today, but while a bridge can replace a tooth or even two, it has its weaknesses:
- In order to connect the metal pieces that hold your dental bridge in place, your dentist has to file down the surface of the teeth on either side of the tooth or teeth to be replaced. This filing can weaken the enamel on these teeth and lead to future problems.
- The tiny metal wires that hold the bridge in place can bend or break. Thus, you have to be careful about what you eat and how you eat it when you have a dental implant.
The New Tooth in the Jaw: The Dental Implant
The main advantage of a dental implant is that you don't have to do anything that would negatively effect the teeth on either side of your missing tooth. Instead, your dentist will drill a hole into your jaw and fill it with a prosthetic, metal root. It takes six months at least for your jawbone to heal around this root, but once it has healed, the new root will be just as solid as a natural root. Once your dentist tops the root with a porcelain crown, your new tooth will look and behave just like a natural tooth.
While you should do everything to keep your natural teeth as long as you can, the day may come when you have to replace your natural teeth. You have to wait longer to receive a dental implant, but in the end, your new tooth will last longer than a bridge. As importantly, you do not have to change your diet or the way you eat your food with a dental implant. Thus, the best replacement tooth is the dental implant.
For more information or help on deciding if this is right for you, contact a professional like Dale D. Lentz DDS with any questions you have.