How should a missing
tooth be replaced?
1. An implant. This is the best option because it does not involve cutting down any other teeth. Lower molar implants have a 95% prognosis for 15 years. Upper molars have a 90% prognosis. The implant root is made of titanium which has been shown to be somewhat resistant to periodontal disease and, of course, is not susceptible to decay.
The biggest drawback to an implant is the time it takes for healing around the implant. This can take four or five months. In special circumstances a temporary crown can be placed for esthetic purposes as long as biting pressure can be eliminated. Despite their resistance to decay and periodontal disease, implants require excellent home care.
2. A fixed bridge. In this option the tooth on either side of the space is prepared (cut down) to accept crowns. A fake tooth is attached to the crowns. The bridge is cemented in place and is nonremoveable. For many years this was considered the best option until implants proved their durability.
The biggest drawback to fixed bridges is that they are still susceptible to caries and this is the main reason why they fail. Also, if the patient gets periodontal disease the teeth involved in the bridge can fail. The important thing for the patient is to maintain excellent home care.
Unless you are a patient of Dr. Landin's and have seen him very recently, this should not be construed as dental advice but only as information. Please consult your own dentist in regard to your personal situation or condition.