Nobody wants to deal with losing a tooth, it’s never fun, it’s never convenient, and most people tend to feel a little self conscious when they’re missing a noticeable tooth.
Generally, one of the most popular choices for a replacement tooth is the trusty dental bridge. Dental bridges use the two teeth adjacent to the missing tooth as anchors for a dental prosthetic, which is called a Pontic.
Many dentists recommend bridges for their ability to quickly and successfully replace a damaged tooth without being too expensive. However, while dental bridges have few limitations, there are some situations where a dental implant is a better choice. This is generally done for a couple reasons.
First, if the teeth on either side of the gap are still perfectly healthy, your dentist will often recommend a dental implant instead. This is because the teeth adjacent to the gap need to be crowned in order to support the prosthetic, and crowning perfectly healthy teeth is generally something your dentist will choose to avoid.
Secondly, dental implants are generally chosen over dental bridges if the patient has a long history of poor oral hygiene. This is because a dental bridge is generally more difficult to take care of than a natural tooth, and if a patient isn’t the best about brushing, flossing, and rinsing with their natural tooth, there’s a good chance the dental bridge won’t last as long and will, ultimately, need to be replaced sooner (which can get expensive). While a dental implant is more expensive up-front, they are easier to take care of and will last longer, making them a better investment in the long run.
How to take care of a dental bridge
Dental bridges, while more difficult to clean, still don’t take much more effort. Because the replacement tooth sits on the gum, it’s important that you’re able to floss it on all sides. To make this easier, most dentists recommend what is called a dental threader, which easily threads the flossy under your bridge. Some patients also like to use a waterpik, which uses a high speed jet of water to clean out the tooth.