I’ve lost three teeth due to a fight. I know. Stupid. But, it’s done and now I must face the music. The thing is, while I can give and take a punch with the best of them, the idea of dental surgery terrifies me. You probably think that’s as stupid as the fighting. I wanted to replace them with a dental bridge, but my dentist keeps insisting it’s a bad idea. Is he right? Do I have to have the surgery?
First, you should know we are a judgment-free dental practice. We certainly wouldn’t call you a coward. We all have fears. It’s not unreasonable to be afraid of surgery. All that being said, there may come a time where surgery is necessary to save your life. This may be something you want to work on so you won’t have the additional emotional trauma on top of whatever physical trauma is going on.
If it’s the sedation that terrifies you, it may help to talk to the anesthesiologist and have them talk you through how that works. Most would be more than willing to help.
As for your dental question, while the dental implants are by far the best option, they’re not your only option. I’ll go over three options and let you know their pros and cons.
Option 1: Dental Implants
These are surgically implanted into your jaw or upper arch. The pros are they prevent loss of bone, which is a natural consequence of losing your teeth. Additionally, they’re permanently secure. It’s like having your healthy, natural teeth back. You can eat what you want as well as brush and floss normally.
The only real downsides are they do require a surgical procedure and they cost more than the other options.
Option 2: A Dental Bridge
The biggest pro for you is no surgery. The only other pro is if the adjacent teeth need crowns, it’s like knocking out two procedures in one. You can learn a bit about that on our dental implants versus bridge page. They also don’t come out, so that is useful.
Their cons are three-fold. First, if the adjacent teeth are healthy, you will have to grind down healthy tooth structure. That’s never an ideal thing to do. Second, they do not last as long as dental implants and may need to be replaced as often as every 5-10 years. So, while initially dental implants have a higher investment, in the long-term they end up being more affordable.
The final con is the size of the bridge you’d need. If you’re replacing three teeth, that will be a five-unit bridge. A bridge that size puts substantial pressure on the crowned teeth. Plus, if one part of the unit breaks, the entire thing needs to be scrapped and replaced.
Option 3: Removable Partial Dentures
The best thing going for this option is the price. It is by far the least expensive replacement. However, it is not anchored to your arch in any way. Upper teeth are held in by suction. Lower teeth just rest on the ridge.
They will wiggle. They will get food under them. You’ll have to take them out every night. However, the biggest drawback is you will lose bone structure where the teeth were extracted.
Discuss these options with your dentist and decide what works best for you. If your dentist insists on a procedure you don’t want, you can always get a second opinion. Some dentists even give free second opinions.
This blog is brought to you by Fountain Valley Dentist Dr. Tammy Tran.