A space in the dental arrangement of an adult can be filled with a full range of bridge options. The two most common implants are single implants with crowns, and three-tooth bridges. Beyond cosmetic and economic factors, time should also be considered.

Time is an important factor in bridge choice because as people age bone volume and density can change. This means any space along the jaw that would normally support a tooth, will shrink if a tooth is missing. The amount of bone that is left in a space where an implant is placed, will likely determine if a bridge is a single unit, or a three-tooth option.

 Single Implants

These implants have a titanium screw base with a whole, lifelike crown. The screw is drilled into the jawbone and acts the same way a normal tooth and root would. Dentists can determine if a single tooth implant is an option under these conditions:

– ample live bone surface and supporting structures

– the presence of solid neighboring teeth that do not have the likelihood of movement

– the singular implant will not be subject to incredible amounts of chewing pressure.

Only with a high resolution X-ray set, and careful attention from a dentist experienced in dental implant procedures, can these options be weighed. Patients who have let a space in their teeth settle for long periods of time will undoubtedly have bone density issues that need to be addressed. If there is little bone to anchor a single implant, a three-tooth (triple crown) option will often be prescribed. Both options are effective for functionality and cosmetic purposes.

 Three-tooth Implants

This implant configuration requires a titanium screw in place of a missing tooth, but also a bridge system with adjoining teeth. Adjoining teeth are filed down and replaced with support crowns conjoined with an implant crown. This option is similar to a dental partial, but the entire complex is solid and cannot be removed. This is a preferred bridge option if:

– bone loss in the missing tooth space is significant

– the bridge is located on the “chewing side” and must endure high pressure

– neighboring teeth also need reconstructive work.

Find more information on Dental Implants.