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In almost all situations an implant is preferred over a bridge to replace a missing tooth. There are some technical reasons why a bridge might be preferred, but they are limited.
A bridge replaces a missing tooth or missing teeth by using adjacent teeth as anchors. It connects the teeth together while still looking like separate teeth. However, you cannot floss between the teeth. A dental implant does not involve the adjacent teeth. It is a one tooth solution for a one tooth problem. The implant is a titanium artificial root to which a crown is attached through a connector called an abutment. The implant complex looks and feels like a natural tooth and you can floss around it normally.
In our office, a dental implant may actually be less costly than a bridge. Any restoration that you don’t have to remove (like a dental implant or a bridge) is going to cost more than a removable prosthetic like a denture or partial. This is because of the material cost, lab cost, and expertise needed to complete the procedures.
The most common complication from missing teeth is a loss of bone where the tooth root used to be. This can affect adjacent teeth and the ability to place a dental implant in the future. Typically, Dr. Scardella will place a bone graft when a tooth is extracted if implants are desired in the future. Another common complication is the shifting of adjacent teeth and extrusion of opposing teeth. This can affect the bite and also make replacing the missing tooth more difficult.