If you are missing a tooth, there are many factors to consider when creating a treatment plan to replace your tooth. There are two accepted therapeutic approaches, either a fixed dental bridge or an implant-supported dental crown, which both offer reasonable solutions for patients. Making a complex decision requires the consultation of an experienced clinician, well informed in your unique dental health. Dr. Gulbransen and Dr. Recksiedler are trained specialists in Prosthodontics and are well-suited to helping you decide which treatment plan best serves you.
Fixed Dental Bridge
A fixed dental bridge is a non-removable prosthesis which is attached to the remaining natural teeth adjacent to the space where the missing tooth was. A dental bridge literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth are missing. Teeth adjacent to the gap are prepared and capped with crowns and then the replacement teeth are attached to those crowns to form a bridge. For the fixed dental bridge, the location of the missing tooth as well as the condition of the abutment teeth can influence your treatment-planning decisions.
One of the problems associated with a fixed bridge is that the natural teeth on either side of the bridge must be filed down. This process can make these teeth more prone to bacterial plaque accumulation, decay or periodontal (gum) disease. In some cases, this can result in the need for future root canals.
Implant-supported Dental Crown
This treatment option involves placement of a titanium dental implant into the original bone pocket or alveolus where the missing tooth used to be. Eventually, this titanium implant osseointegrates with the bone in the jaw, making a very stable anchor. This implant is then capped with a dental crown. This single tooth implant solution can avoid involvement with adjacent teeth. In addition, the dental implant helps to preserve bone in the jaw by preventing bone loss.
So how do you make a decision which option is best for you?
Both implant-supported dental crowns and fixed dental bridges are options for replacing missing teeth. Every patient is unique. Not everyone is a candidate for a dental implant. Adequate bone in the jaw is necessary to support placement of a dental implant. Some patients have complex medical histories which do not make them good oral surgery candidates.
To learn if you are a good candidate for an implant-supported crown or a fixed dental bridge, schedule an initial appointment with Dr. Gulbransen or Dr. Recksiedler, trained specialists and Prosthodontists. After thoroughly evaluating your mouth, Dr. Gulbransen or Dr. Recksiedler will advise you of all the options available to you to restore your beautiful smile.