I recently lost one tooth due to decay underneath my crown. The entire tooth broke off at the gum. It had been root canaled so the post is there from the root canal. The tooth is on the top left and is the third molar from the back. My dentist says the tooth can’t be saved. I can’t decide whether to do an implant or a bridge. For a bridge, there is a filling in one tooth next to it and a inlay in the tooth on the other side. I’m worried about bone loss though. Will I get bone loss if it is just one tooth missing? Will I experience bone loss with a bridge? Please let me know what you think. I am 46 and in excellent health and no bone problems right now.
– Deborah from California
It doesn’t sound like there is enough left of your tooth to hold a crown, so it needs to come out.
Yes, even with one tooth missing, there will be bone loss in that space where the tooth used to be. Your body will resorb that bone to use the minerals elsewhere. But, since the space is a small space, the amount of bone loss isn’t very significant. Plus, it’s not in a place that will likely show when you smile.
However, if the adjacent teeth are sound and only have conservative fillings, a dental implant would be a good idea, just to avoid grinding down otherwise healthy teeth for crowns. A dental bridge requires you to have full coverage crowns on each adjacent tooth. A dental implant, on the other hand, just requires placing a root form, allowing it to heal, and then placing a crown on that root form.