Dental implants have become the treatment of choice for many patients that are in need of restorative treatments to repair or replace decaying or lost teeth. There are a number of reasons for the shift in philosophy by most dental and periodontal professionals towards utilizing dental implants as a more favorable solution than bridges or crowns, as was often done in the past. They provide a permanent solution to tooth restoration and repair that avoid many of the problems sometimes encountered with other restorative dental methods.
One of the primary reasons that dental implants have become the favored alternative for tooth restoration is due to their longevity and lifespan. Most will last a lifetime, whereas restoring a tooth with a bridge is a procedure that often needs to be repeated after a certain period of time. Bridges are not permanent solutions when restorative treatments are needed. This is primarily due to the fact that they are more likely to break and decay can build up under the bridge or crown, causing additional dental or gum problems. Another problem with bridges is that if a tooth adjacent to the originally replaced tooth encounters a problem down the road, the bridge or crowns often need to be replaced.
Dental implants give patients the opportunity to replace a lost or decaying tooth with another that looks just like their real tooth. When a dental implant is used, the tooth that is attached to the implant looks and feels like a real tooth. Since the tooth is not connected to any other teeth nearby, the tooth also functions like a real tooth and can be cared for in the same way that a natural tooth should be cared for. They don’t require the extensive maintenance and cleaning regimen that bridges require in order to keep the underlying gums and bone healthy.
Another benefit to opting for dental implants is that no work needs to be done to the surrounding teeth, as is the case when a patient has a bridge put in. The implant affects the actual tooth that needs restoration only and does not rely on the adjacent teeth for any type of strength or stability. This means that the nearby teeth do not need to be ground down and to have crowns placed over them. Instead, they can be left alone.
Since the cleaning regimen for those with dental implants is more simplified than those with bridges, opting for dental implants often means that the patient experiences fewer future problems with gum or underlying bone loss. Bridges require that the patient floss well and clean properly both under the bridge and also between the supporting crowns on either side of the replaced tooth. Failure to do so adequately can result in problems with the teeth, gums and bone.
Whether a patient needs to have just one or a series of teeth replaced, the best solution in most cases are dental implants.