HELP: Dental Implants vs. Bridges?

  1. I recently had several teeth pulled and as a result I now find myself in a situation where I have to make a rather quick decision regarding future treatment plans.

    I had two teeth pulled on the left side of my mouth: one upper and one lower, both of these teeth being vertically aligned with one another. The tooth to the right of the now empty space on the upper row has a cavity and is in need of a crown. I had not planned on addressing the issue of implants for the newly pulled/missing teeth anytime soon because I have other dental issues that I want to tackle first. Now that I am in need of a crown on the neighboring tooth I'm in a bit of a quandry.

    Since the one tooth is in need of a crown my dentist wants to place a three-unit bridge on the upper left hand side of my mouth. The bridge would take care of the empty hole, and it would also take care of the needed crown on the tooth with the cavity.

    I asked my dentist if he thought a bridge was a smarter/better option than a future implant and he very declaratively said "yes".

    I've done a bit of research on both implants and bridges, and I'm a little leery about bridges. (I realize that implants have their own set of issues too.) I'm very young and would most likely have to have the bridge replaced several times. I'm also not crazy about the idea of filing down the two supporting teeth and am concerned about a possible complete failure of the bridge at a later date if something happens to one of the other two teeth.

    Both procedures are extremely costly, but cost isn't my main concern right now: I want to do what is best for my mouth in both the short-term and the long-term.

    For anyone who has had experience with either bridges and/or implants, and for anyone in the dental industry, I would GREATLY appreciate any input regarding thoughts on bridges and implants, bridges vs. implants, and on the best course of action for me at this time. Many, many thanks.
     
  2. I have all of my teeth, but my mother has had to have reconstructive surgery. She had an implant and she love it. It's like your regular teeth, but more expensive. She would advocate the implant. It's more long term.

    If you are worried about cost, see if your company has a flex spend program, that way you can take it off your gross salary, and it help decrease your taxable income, AND you get access to the money immediately. They just take out the allotment, monthy, quarterly, whatever you choose.

    also, see if your dentist takes Care Credit (credit card specifically taken by some dentist and veterinarians.) Or charge it to a low, interest/0 interest credit card.
     
  3. My friends co-worker had two implants and one got infected really bad and it took months for it to get better. I think it might have had to be removed. She started to do some research and was surprised to find that there can be complications with implants that she was never told about. I would do a research on the web and see how you feel about it. I think implants would be great but I am such a wimp with the dentist that I doubt I could ever get it done, just the thought-UGH.....
     
  4. Definately seek the advice of a different dental surgeon who specializes in tooth replacement! You don't have to get this work done by the same dentist who pulled your tooth. Any dentist that said that a bridge was definately the way for me to go without discussing options throws up a red flag. My dental surgeon spent about 45 minutes discussing all of my options with me!
     
  5. I decided against a bridge for the reasons you stated. No problems with my implant, but I haven't completed the process (you have to allow the implant site to heal for several months before getting the crown installed). The dentist has a vested interest in you getting a bridge. My dentist told me my options very neutrally and it seemed obvious to me that an implant was a better way to go.
     
  6. One of my molars broke a few months ago and the cavity was pretty big so I was given the option of having a root canal+crown+crown elightening (they cut a piece of gum to attach the crown), implant or bridge. I chose to save my tooth and get the root canal and crown, my insurance doesnt cover the cronw enlightening and I have to paid 950 for that on top of the crown and root canal, total of 1800 dlls for a f**** tooth. Gosh, but in the other side, implants are about 3000+4000 each and insurance wont cover that.

    It took me a few days to make a desition, talk to your dentist and dicuss what is best for you. IMO I think the bridge would do it because..

     
  7. I would do the implant. Bridges have to attach to healthy teeth and they will break them down over time. Then in the future years you will have to deal with more missing teeth due to the bridge.
    I am sure the implant is a longer process, but in the end would be the better thing to do!
    Good luck..
     
  8. I am in a very similar position and I chose an implant. I wanted something permanent that would not interfere with my other teeth. I've had a lot of trouble with weak teeth and have broken 4 (the worst one is the one that was removed for the implant) and honestly, I was worried that one of the others might break or have some big problem that would interfere with the bridge. I already found a cavity when they removed the broken, crowned tooth- with my luck, more things like that would happen after installing the bridge. It's not like I'm looking forward to completing the implant process, but I think it will be much more worry-free once it is done. Good luck with yours!
     
  9. If you can go for the implant, you should. Part of placing a bridge is shaving down the teeth next to the empty space to allow for better cementation. I would try to keep all the healthy teeth I have.
     
  10. I agree that you should consult an oral surgeon as well. My mom went through this (deciding between and implant or bridge) and her dentist told her that a bridge would be better - we now know that it wasn't. He probably told her that in order to make the money from the procedure (unlike if he had referred her to an oral surgeon).

    Good luck.
     
  11. My dad had the same dilemma a few years ago and he chose implant because of the reasons you stated. He loves them and hasn't had any complications (he's had it for 3 years now I think). Make sure you get references/feedback from other patients and check all the credentials!