A 3 Unit Bridge vs. Dental Implant for Replacing Single Missing Tooth
Replacing one single missing tooth with a 3 unit bridge was the most effective tooth replacement treatment prior to dental implants becoming available. This particular type of dental bridge comprises of three prosthetic teeth joined alongside each other in a row, the tooth in the centre bridges the gap with the false teeth on each side being attached over 2 healthy natural teeth. Although this type of treatment previously considered as the most affective available treatment for decades, with other more advanced dentistry options available it is no longer regarded as the best possible type of restorative dental treatment in many cases.
Replacing one single missing tooth with a 3 unit bridge was the most effective tooth replacement treatment prior to dental implants becoming available.
This particular type of dental bridge comprises of three prosthetic teeth joined alongside each other in a row, the tooth in the centre bridges the gap with the false teeth on each side being attached over 2 healthy natural teeth.
Although this type of treatment previously considered as the most effective available treatment for decades, with other more advanced dentistry options available it is no longer regarded as the best possible type of restorative dental treatment in many cases.
The main disadvantage with a 3 unit bridge is that it necessitates the shaping and reduction in size of both teeth on each side of the gap to make it possible for the bridgework to be attached. As the bridge consists of three prosthetic teeth which are fixed to each other, they need to be maintained differently to the patients other teeth.
The use of a specialized dental cleaning device known as a floss-threader is required to clean the area where the bridge joins onto the teeth as these areas are extremely vulnerable to tooth decay.
Partly because of the problems associated with dental bridgework, dental implants have become the most preferred option for replacing one missing tooth. The finished implant functions not only as a replacement tooth but also as a tooth root; this has a significant advantage over a 3-unit bridge as the placing of an implant ensures the preservation the jawbone in the area of the missing tooth.
Furthermore, an implant does not require the wearer to use any specialist cleaning equipment or additional oral hygiene techniques, in contrast to a bridge. Implanted teeth should be taken care of simply by brushing twice a day and regular flossing, in a similar manner as maintaining natural teeth.
If a decaying or damaged tooth is to be replaced with a dental implant it would be advisable to have a consultation with the dental surgeon before the tooth is removed.
It is possible that the dental surgeon may be able to extract the tooth himself and place the implant immediately after the tooth extraction. This approach has the added benefit of shortening the overall treatment time by up to 16 weeks.
If the tooth was extracted anything more than 6 months prior to the implant being placed it would be likely that a bone graft would be required, often necessitating the need for a healing period of four months to allow the grafted bone tissue to integrate with the jaw.
The Longevity of Implants and Dental Bridges
The implant and abutment should last for patient’s lifetime; but the ceramic crown would be expected to last for a decade or longer. The interval between having a crown initially placed and replacement of the crown would depend heavily on the oral hygiene routine of the patient.
Crowns which are generally intended to last in excess of 10 years might need to be replaced after 2 or 3 years if a poor oral hygiene routine is exercised.
A dental bridge is also expected to last for approximately 10 years before it needs to be replaced, but the likelihood of other problems occurring is significantly greater.
In the event the teeth which support the bridge failing due to tooth decay or periodontal disease, considerable dental work will be required to restore the dental bridge; this could include building up both teeth on either side with a dental bonding compound. The restorative dental work in some cases may include a replacement three unit bridge being manufactured.
Generally a single dental implant is the preferred method for replacing a single missing tooth due to greater reliability, a lower likelihood of complications and the preservation of the adjacent healthy teeth; although, the final decision should be taken on a case by case basis.
In some instances it is not practical to place dental implants due to a lack of bone mass in the jaw, the position of nerves or the maxillary sinus, or due to certain pre-existing health conditions of the patient. In many instances both methods should be considered with the advantages and disadvantages of each being explained to the patient.
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Topics: Tags: bone graft, bridges, bridgework, damaged tooth, dental, dental bonding, dental bridge, dental bridges, dental bridgework, dental implant