Tag Archives: tooth replacement options

dental bridge or implant

I have to replace two teeth and get a dental crown on another one. I’m trying to decide between dental implants and a dental bridge. What do you think would best work?

Kevin

Dear Kevin,

Both a dental implant and a dental bridge are good tooth replacement options. Which one you get will depend on a couple of things. First, I’ll go over how both of them work. Then, we’ll discuss which to choose.

An illustration of a dental implant among natural teeth
A Dental Implant

With dental implants, a prosthetic tooth root is surgically placed into your jaw. There is a time of healing after the surgery and to allow the bone to integrate around the implant. After that time period, a dental crown will be placed on it

There are benefits to dental implants. They’re completely secure and the closest thing to having a healthy, natural tooth in your mouth again. Additionally, the root form signals to your brain the jawbone in that area is still necessary, thereby preserving it.

Illustration of a dental bridge
Dental Bridge

With a dental bridge, a false tooth is suspended between two crowns. This is secured by being bonded onto the adjacent teeth. It makes more sense when one of the adjacent teeth already needs a crown. Without that, you’re just grinding down healthy tooth structure.

Implant or Bridge?

If you need a false tooth next to the tooth which needs to be crowned, then it would be a good idea to get the bridge. If the tooth which needs a crown is elsewhere, I’d get the dental implants to replace the tooth and then get the single tooth crowned.

I hope this helps. This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

dental filling disaster

I had never had a cavity until I switched dentists. My insurance changed so we needed to go to a different practice. On my very first appointment, he said I had a cavity, which surprised me. I went ahead and had it filled. The filling caused continual pain even after he adjusted it. It got to the point where he said I’d adjust to it. I waited out the full year with my insurance than switched to one that allowed me to go back to my old dentist.

When I did, he said I likely didn’t even need the filling at all. He said there’d been a spot on my x-ray for years that hadn’t changed. He said he’d replace the filling to make it better. The pain was instantly better, but the filling was uneven I guess and food would get trapped in it.

He decided to adjust that because he said it would become an issue. Since he’s adjusted it I’ve had problems with a serious sensitivity to hot and cold. Now my dentist is talking about extracting the tooth. I don’t want that so I’m afraid to go back. Is there anything I can do?

Betty

Dear Betty,

A blonde woman hodling her left cheek and jaw in pain

It’s unusual for a dentist to fake diagnose a single filling. It’s not a financial gain for him or her. In all honesty, it is more of a hassle. So, I don’t think you were taken for a ride by the new dentist. I’m actually more concerned that your original dentist saw a spot on your x-ray for years and never even mentioned it.

The trouble I’m seeing here is you have two incompetent dentists working on your teeth. The dentist who did your filling couldn’t do it correctly and rather than repair it he said, “You’ll adjust”. That’s dental speak for, “I don’t know what to do.”

When a dental filling is done right, you don’t even notice it.

Then, when you went back to your original dentist, he couldn’t get the filling right either. Now he’s talking about extracting the tooth?! I don’t think so.

My guess is your insurance has a preferred provider list. They do that to keep the fees cheap. But, the better dentists won’t sign on to plans like that. So often (not always) preferred provider means less than adequate dentist.

I’m going to suggest you go to an out of network dentist who has good reviews. You need this fixed. Don’t let your dentist extract your tooth.

The last thing you need after all of this is another expensive procedure and, believe me, tooth replacements cost a pretty penny.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone

Do I Get a Dental Implant or a Dental Bridge?

I lost a tooth. It’s my own fault. I waited too long to deal with it and now I have to replace it. My dentist is suggesting a dental implant, but I’m not too keen on the idea of surgery. Would a dental bridge do something close?

Kevin C.

Dear Kevin,

It depends on how close you’re wanting to get. Both a dental implant and a dental bridge are acceptable tooth replacement options. Both are permanent and secure. There are important differences though. I’ll explain both options. Then, you can discuss with your dentist what fits your situation best. His job isn’t to pressure you into an option, but rather to give you your options and a recommendation. The final decision is yours.

Dental Implants

Dental Implant DiagramYou already knew that a dental implant required surgery. The diagram on the left shows why.

As you can see, the implant is placed directly into your jawbone. The benefits to this are it’s like having your own natural tooth back, it preserves your jawbone, and no other teeth need to lose tooth structure for its placement.

Dental Bridge

Illustration of a dental bridgeA dental bridge is also permanent however, in order to bond them, it requires grinding down the adjacent teeth. Additionally, if part of it breaks the whole unit will have to be redone. They also do nothing to preserve the bone underneath.

When Does a Dental Bridge Make More Sense?

While it may sound like I’m suggesting dental implants are the better option, there is a time when a dental bridge makes more sense. For instance, if the adjacent teeth need to be crowned anyway then it’s like getting two procedures in one. Then, you’re not grinding healthy tooth structure.

The key is good communication with your dentist. He or she knows your teeth. If finances are a consideration as well, many dentists will let you pay out a procedure like dental implants which are a little more costly than simple procedures like a filling.

Who Should Do Your Tooth Restorations?

When you’re looking at replacing teeth, it’s important you choose the right dentist. The especially important when the tooth is in a visible part of your smile. You want it to look natural and beautiful. Not every dentist can pull that off.

Look for a dentist who’s accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). These are the top cosmetic dentists in the country. One other thing to consider. Once your implant crown or dental bridge is made, the color cannot be changed. If you want a whiter smile, be sure to have your teeth whitened before your tooth replacement procedure is done. That way your restoration will match your bright white smile.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Can CEREC Crowns Handle Night Grinding?

My dentist recently purchased a CEREC machine he’s very excited about. I have a cavity that he feels is too large for a filling. He wants to me have a crown done using the machine. I just wanted to get a second opinion as to how they hold up as well as normal crowns. My dentist said I grind my teeth at night. I’m assuming he would only give me a crown that would hold up against that, but just wanted to double check.

Lizza

Dear Lizza,

Machine for CEREC Crowns

This is one of those yes and no answers. CEREC crowns are every bit as strong as traditional crowns. The biggest difference is they’re able to milled at the time of your appointment, eliminating the need for either a temporary crown or a second appointment.

However, I’m truly concerned about your grinding. When your dentist mentioned to you your teeth showed evidence of nighttime grinding, did he suggest anything to you, such as a nightguard? Your teeth need protecting. The stress of grinding will not only wear down the enamel of your teeth down, but can also lead to your teeth cracking and breaking.

When your enamel wears down it leaves you vulnerable to decay. With decay, you’ll be looking at a mouth full of fillings. Even worse, would be the possibility of losing a tooth. Then you’re looking at getting a tooth replacement, such as dental implants or a dental bridge.

While your choice of crown is fine, just like your natural teeth, it won’t stand up under grinding without you having some type of nightguard to protect both your natural teeth and your crowns.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Can a General Dentist do Dental Implants?

I need to replace a tooth. Everyone says dental implants are the best replacement. Are there implant specialists or can a general dentist do them?

Max L. – Connecticut

Max,

First, I’ll say, yes, dental implants really are the top of the line tooth replacement. Be aware that not everyone is a candidate for dental implants. There are some conditions which are contra-indicative, like gum disease. Or, if you’re a smoker, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a good dentist willing to go forward with the procedure. If it turns out you’re not a candidate, there are other good options which we’ll discuss momentarily.

As to whether or not you need a dental implant specialist, that’s a yes and no. There isn’t actually a recognized specialty in implants, so any dentist who does them is a general dentist. However, it takes some additional training than what they get in dental school to be skilled in this procedure.

Dental Implants are an advanced procedure, with potentially severe complications if things go wrong. Because of that you’ll want to be bold in asking the dentist some blunt questions. Some things to ask are “What type of implant training have you had?” “How many implant procedures have you performed?” “What percentage of them are successful?”

So, what if you’re not a good candidate? Whatever dentist you go to should give you all your options. For instance, the next best procedure would likely be a dental bridge. In fact, if your adjacent teeth need a crown, a dental bridge might make more sense for you.

The important thing is you find a dentist you trust and then have them explain all the procedures you’re a candidate for.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.