Replacing a single tooth:  Bridge vs. Implant

Replacing a single tooth: Bridge vs. Implant

May 01, 2022

Q: I am missing a single tooth in the front and want your opinion as to replace it with an implant or a permanent bridge.

A: First, as usual, I will give my opinion on a completely different topic: Mask-less air travel.

I was psyched before I headed to the airport a few weeks ago knowing I would be sans-mask; until I took my seat on the plane. Not having been on a plane for a long time without a mask, I was quickly reminded of all the smells on a plane that made me put my mask back on just before takeoff. I was awarded a tortuous middle seat for a 6 hour jaunt to San Francisco. (Probably being punished for punching Richard Gornstein in the head in 7th grade for picking on my best friend). In a nutshell, I had feta cheese breath to my left and old dirty laundry to my right. (All middle seat passengers should be given a cyanide capsule; just in case.)

IMO: if you have enough bone in non-esthetic areas of the mouth, such as back molars, it is best to do a titanium implant and crown to replace your tooth. However, in an area that really shows in your smile and has natural teeth adjacent to your missing tooth gap, we often prefer a bridge, which means shaving down the adjacent teeth and making three crowns connected to each other; the middle one being a fake-floating tooth to mimic your lost tooth. The reason is it is very difficult to get the gum line around a front-tooth implant to exactly match the adjacent “God-given” gum line of your natural teeth. And it is super tough to match the shade of a single implant crown to the adjacent virgin teeth.

Consider a second opinion when faced with this dilemma before jumping in.

Happy flying and take a mask with you just in case; trust me on this one!

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