Several decades ago, if you visited a dentist with a missing tooth or one that needed to be removed, the tooth would usually be replaced with a bridge. Dental bridges fill in the missing space, sitting on top of the gums and attaching to the remaining teeth. These days, however, your dentist is likely to recommend a different treatment for your missing tooth: an implant. Dental implants extend below the gums, replacing both the root and crown of your tooth. Why has this type of tooth replacement become so popular? There are several good reasons:
Dental implants keep the nearby teeth from shifting.
With a bridge, the tooth roots of the teeth surrounding the missing tooth are free to shift into the empty space left by the missing tooth root. Dental implants replace the missing tooth root, so there is no empty space into which the surrounding tooth roots can shift. This means that with implants, your regular teeth stay straight and properly positioned in your mouth.
Implants look and feel like natural teeth once they're healed.
Dental bridges are often obvious in the mouth. You can see the little hooks that attach them to the nearby teeth, and sometimes the crowns were made of silver amalgam, which looks quite artificial in the mouth. Dental implants take a few months to heal, but once they do, the false tooth looks exactly like a natural tooth. Nobody, except for a dentist, will ever know the difference. They also last a lifetime, unlike bridges that sometimes need to be replaced.
Dental implants have a 98% success rate.
You're not the only one who wants your treatment to work the first time. Successful treatments are best for dentists, too, since they improve their reputations and prevent them from having to do a lot of follow up work. One reason dental implants are so popular is that they have such a high success rate. Anyone who is healthy enough for oral surgery can have a dental implant put into place, so if you're a picture of health and are free from disease, you may have even higher than a 98% chance of success, personally.
If a dentist (such as one from Crest Hill Family Dental) has recommended that you replace your missing tooth with an implant, listening to his or her advice is generally wise. Modern dental implants have been around for about 40 years, and they provide the most permanent solution for missing teeth.