Losing a single tooth might not feel like a big deal, but each tooth in your mouth plays a role. Whether it’s one of your front teeth or one of your molars, we highly recommend replacing it to help maintain optimal oral health, your ability to chew, and your beautiful smile. The most common question we’re asked when patients visit us for single tooth replacement options is whether they should get a dental implant with a dental crown or a dental bridge. We’re here to break down whether a dental implant or dental bridge is the right choice for you.

Senior woman relaxing in her kitchen

Why Replace Your Missing Tooth

Before we dive into our two replacement options, you might wonder why you should replace your missing tooth in the first place. For one, when you lose a tooth and don’t replace it, it can cause your other teeth to shift in position in order to fill in the empty space. This can result in severe bite problems. Another reason to replace your missing tooth is to help maintain a full and complete smile. If your missing tooth is in the front of your mouth, you might feel self-conscious with an empty gap to show.

Having a missing tooth can also make eating feel more difficult, depending on where it’s located in your mouth. Each tooth plays a role in chewing.

Once you lose a tooth, you will also lose some of your jaw bone. This is because the bone no longer has a tooth root to hold in place. The bone loss from a single tooth won’t result in premature aging. However, if you were to lose several more teeth in the future, your face might experience premature aging. This is because bone loss affects the support of your facial structure. Without the right support, your facial structure will collapse and your skin will become looser and present more wrinkles.

Lastly, not replacing your missing tooth can result in an increased chance of gum infection. Since there’s a large pocket where bacteria and debris can accumulate, you increase your chance of gum disease by not replacing your missing tooth.

Dental Bridge

Your first solution for replacing your missing tooth is with a dental bridge. A dental bridge consists of two dental crowns placed on existing teeth with a false tooth placed in between to replace your missing tooth. The crowns on your teeth act as anchors for the false tooth. Dental bridges offer many pros and cons.

Appearance

As far as the dental bridge’s appearance goes, it looks completely natural! You won’t be able to tell that you have a false tooth. We customize our dental bridges to blend seamlessly with your surrounding teeth.

Durability

The average lifespan of a dental bridge is about ten years. It’s very possible your dental bridge will last much longer though. Durability depends on what material we use to create your bridge and how well you take care of it.

Cost

The cost of your dental bridge depends on which material it’s made of. We can tell you that it costs less than a dental implant and dental crown procedure.

Procedure

The procedure for getting a dental bridge is quite simple. First, we will prepare your teeth for the dental crowns. Then, we will take impressions of your teeth and send them off to the lab. In the meantime, you will wear a temporary bridge to restore your smile. Once the permanent bridge returns from the lab, we will bond it to your teeth and you will be good to go.

Pros and Cons

A dental bridge is a great way to replace your missing tooth. The procedure is fast and provides immediate results. The only cons are that it doesn’t replace your tooth root like an implant and it requires the removal of some of your natural tooth structure to make room for the dental crown.

Dental Implant

The best way to replace your missing tooth is hands down with a dental implant. Dental implants replace every aspect of your tooth including the tooth root. See what makes dental implants different from dental bridges.

Appearance

You won’t actually be able to notice the dental implant since it’s inside your jaw. What you will notice is the gorgeous crown that’s attached to the implant. We custom make your dental crown to look like your surrounding teeth.

Durability

Dental implants last for twenty years and beyond with proper care. There’s a good chance you won’t have to replace your implant in your lifetime. The dental crown has an average lifespan of 15 years and will likely need a replacement down the line.

Cost

The procedure for dental implants costs more than a dental bridge. But don’t let that discourage you. We will help you compare costs during your consultation.

Procedure

The entire procedure for a dental implant from start to finish can take about four months. If you need an extraction, the process will take about eight months. The actual dental implant procedure only takes about 5 minutes to complete. Prior to your procedure, we will take a CT scan of your mouth to plan your placement. After numbing your mouth, we will surgically insert the implant. For the next four months, your jaw will heal and you will wear a temporary replacement tooth. After your jaw heals, we will take impressions to create a dental crown, and then once it returns from the lab, we’ll connect it to the implant.

Pros and Cons

Although dental implants cost more and take much longer than dental bridges, they offer one benefit you won’t find with a dental bridge. Dental implants stimulate your jaw bone just like a natural tooth. This prevents bone loss and provides more support for your replacement tooth which makes chewing feel incredibly natural.

Which is Right For You?

If you’re still not sure whether a dental bridge or dental implant in Spokane Valley is right for you, please contact Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics to make an appointment with Drs. Ken or Marnie Collins. During your consultation, we will help you weigh your options and help you decide which tooth replacement is best for you. Call us at (509) 927-2273 to book an appointment.