One of the more traditional dental care options for people who are missing a tooth is to get a bridge, but there could now be a better alternative.
The American Dental Association (ADA) explains that a bridge fills the gap left by a missing tooth with an artificial one. These prostheses can be made of gold, alloys or porcelain and are fixed to surrounding teeth.
Jane Brody writes a personal health column for the New York Times and lost a permanent molar to tooth decay when she was in her 20s. The problem was remedied by installing a bridge, but only temporarily. Over the years, Brody has been forced to return to her dentist to have her bridge replaced on a number of occasions.
Brody recently consulted Dr Michael Zidile, a young periodontist, because of more problems with her bridge.
"This is not how we do restorations nowadays," Dr Zidile told Brody. "A bridge is not a permanent solution and makes it too hard for most people to keep their gums and underlying bone healthy. Now we do implants and individual crowns where needed."
Dental implants can be more comfortable and look better than bridges for some people, according to the ADA. They can feel more natural because they are connected to the jawbone and are better secured than conventional substitutes.
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