Have you recently had a tooth extracted? Perhaps you have an upcoming extraction scheduled. Sometimes our teeth fail. Whether it is from disease or an injury, some teeth require extraction when they cannot be saved with restorations or endodontic therapy. Severely diseased teeth can pose oral health risks, too. This is another reason why tooth extraction is sometimes necessary. Fortunately, there are options for replacing missing teeth that will not compromise oral function or a patient’s appearance. Our oral surgeon explains a few common treatment options.
Bridges are a common prosthetic for replacing one to four teeth in a row. They were extremely popular before the widespread use of dental implants and they are still used today. A bridge consists of one or more crowns attached together and this prosthetic piece is permanently anchored to neighboring teeth on each side. While bridges can look very natural and help restore oral function, they do have some limitations. For instance, debris from food and plaque tend to build up underneath a bridge. Patients have to be vigilant with their oral hygiene regimen to keep the area underneath a bridge clean. Additionally, the gums and bone underneath a bridge can atrophy with time and this can affect the health of neighboring teeth.
Compared to bridges, dental implants offer a more biocompatible alternative to replacing lost teeth. The construction of implants differs from bridges by replacing both a tooth’s crown and its roots. This is done by inserting a titanium rod that resembles a screw into the jawbone. The rod will anchor a prosthetic crown or bridge permanently. Since implants are embedded into the jaw, they are incredibly sturdy and will not move or slide in the mouth. After the implant stabilizes, a permanent prosthetic tooth is attached to the titanium rod to complete the process. Patients enjoy a long-lasting, durable, and natural looking replacement tooth. Most patients prefer dental implants to other prosthetics after tooth extraction.
To learn more about your options after a tooth extraction, call Central Oklahoma Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled oral surgeons.