Once you’ve lost a tooth, the dentist will recommend that you replace it. Failure to replace a missing tooth would cause your other teeth to shift to cover the bare space in your gums. This could cause you to lose additional teeth.
To give you a bridge, your dentist must prep your surrounding teeth. Most bridges are anchored by the two teeth beside the missing tooth. To prepare these anchor teeth for the bridge, the dentist must shape them so that the bridge will fit neatly.
Then, the dentist will take an impression of your mouth. This helps ensure that the bridge will fit neatly into the tooth gap. You will leave the office with a temporary bridge. This protects the teeth while the permanent bridge is being made. About 2-4 weeks later, you will be called back to the dental office to have the permanent bridge cemented.
The process of getting an implant is lengthier than the process for getting a bridge. Unlike a bridge, an implant is not placed on top of the gums. Rather, an implant is held in place by bone. The dental surgeon will make an incision in your gums to insert a metal part. This metal replaces the root of the missing tooth. The metal part also has a screw-like surface that sticks through the top of the gums. After this simple surgery to insert the metal screw, you must wait 2-4 months for the metal part to fuse together with your jawbone. This anchors the metal and keeps it sturdy.
After the waiting period, your dental surgeon will check your surgical site. Then, your dentist will make a crown by taking an impression of your mouth. The crown is shaded to match the natural color of your teeth. It’s a false tooth that looks and functions like a real one. The crown is attached to the screw-like, metal part.
If you think you may need a bridge or an implant, contact your dentist. The dentist can determine if you’re a good candidate for either procedure.