I recently lost a tooth and my dentist is pressuring me to replace it with a dental implant. You have to understand I have a very hard time recovering from surgeries and the idea of doing one electively seems absolutely insane to me. I am currently wearing a dental flipper while I make a decision. Am I insane for looking at alternatives? If not, what do you recommend in my particular case?
Let me say up front, you are never insane for looking at alternatives. Instead, I would say you are wise. I also don’t like it when patients feel pressured by their dentist. It creates a feeling of insecurity and wariness when it comes to confiding in them their true feelings. Eventually, that leads to mistrust.
In your case, you have two great options.
- Dental Implants
- Dental Bridge
As you noted earlier, dental implants require a prosthetic tooth root to be surgically implanted into your jawbone. Then, after a healing period, a crown is placed on top of the implant to replace your tooth. With a single tooth, the advantages include the following:
- No other tooth structure is affected. The only thing you have to worry about is the space where the new tooth will be placed.
- It is the closest thing to having a healthy natural tooth again.
With a dental bridge, you will have a false tooth suspended between two dental crowns. This requires the two adjacent teeth to received crowns. If those teeth already need work, no problem.
However, if they are healthy you will be grinding down healthy tooth structure. This doesn’t mean you are wrong if you choose this option. It is just something to be aware of.
Dental Implants and Tooth Color
While your implant crown can be made to match any shade of tooth color, once it is made, the color is permanent. That means if you have the porcelain crown made to match your current tooth color then later decide to whiten your teeth, your natural teeth will whiten but your crown will stay the same color.
Obviously, this only matters if it is visible when you smile. If it is, you’ll have to replace the crown. An easy way to prevent this is to consider ahead of time if you plan on whitening your teeth any time in the near future.
If you are, it will save you money to take care of that before you move ahead with your your tooth replacement. This way you won’t have to replace it sooner than would otherwise be necessary.
This blog is brought to you by Naperville Dentist Dr. David Newkirk.