When troublesome tooth #4 required removal, I was presented with one choice for filling the gap, a dental implant. When I asked for alternatives, a second choice emerged, a dental bridge. Would the crowded teeth in front of the space naturally move in and fill the gap, I wondered? No such luck. Put to a choice between an implant and bridge, and less than excited about both options, I decided to do some research and consult with my regular dentist before making the choice.
A dental implant requires drilling into the jawbone. The implanted titanium rod fuses with the bone over time. After weeks to months of healing, the process is completed. Depending on whether a two or three-step process is used, either a cap is placed or an abutment and cap are used.
According to the Mayo Clinic, complications from dental implant surgery are rare. They include infection, damage to teeth, nerves, and blood vessels, and protrusion into the sinus cavity. If your jawbone is too thin or too soft, a bone graft may be necessary to support an implant. In some cases, the titanium rod doesn’t fuse to the bone, and the process has to be restarted, after a healing period, or abandoned. Despite these risks, Mayo says most implant procedures are successful.
When I research any medical procedure, I check alternative medicine viewpoints along with the conventional advice. Dr. Mercola advises that dental materials are chosen for their mechanical characteristics and implant rods thus are not tested for biocompatibility. This means the implant can cause or aggravate autoimmune disease. If you already have metal fillings, there’s a risk of galvanization. When you have put two dissimilar metals in your mouth, Mercola notes, “You essentially create a battery that will serve to drive the ions of the metals out of the metal into your mouth and also generate electricity.”
When the galvanized metal reacts with saliva, it can over-stimulate the brain. Chronic insomnia, a sensation of an electric charge when eating with metal utensils, and a metal taste in the mouth are signs of galvanic toxicity, according to Mercola.
Back to Bridges
Unnerved at the thought of getting an implant, I took a look at information on dental bridges. What I did not know up to this point is a dental bridge sacrifices surrounding, healthy teeth. Those teeth are drilled and fitted with crowns to support the bridge. Nope, not happening.
By the time I arrived for the consult, I was feeling desperate for a third option. An implant did seem superior to a bridge, but I didn’t want either one. I asked again about filling that space with the crowded teeth in front. Could I get braces to nudge those teeth into the new space? My dentist thought for a moment, then enthusiastically recommended Fastbraces as a possible option. By moving the tooth and root simultaneously, Fastbraces take only a year, sometimes less, to straighten teeth. They cost less than conventional braces and about the same as an implant. This appeals to me for three reasons: no surgery, no sacrifice of healthy teeth, and crooked teeth straightened. The downside- wearing braces for a year- is hardly daunting when compared to the alternatives.
Braces aren’t necessarily an option for anyone facing an implant or bridge installation. They’ll work in my case because I had crowded teeth and the space needing to be filled corresponded with the space needed to straighten them.