When crowns are created, we shave away a certain amount of tooth structure to create the contours upon which a crown or bridge can be placed. If the teeth next to the missing tooth have no problem with them, you are cutting down virgin teeth to fix a problem that can be treated with implants instead. The decision of whether to go with a bridge vs implant requires the assessment of a variety of questions such as:
-Is there enough bone?
-How much is there a need to crown the adjacent teeth?
-What are the patient's needs and expectations?
You should have a discussion with your doctor about which option is the best choice for you.
When a tooth is removed, your body will remodel the bone which is why we recommend bone grafting during extractions. Another important consideration is that when an area has been without a tooth for a long time your body will start remodeling the bone underneath. In a sense, your body works on a "Use it or Lose it" principal when it comes to certain parts of your body.
If you are in an arm cast after an accident for months, your arm looks like a skeleton when they remove the cast. This is because your muscles atrophy from lack of use. Your body moves the nutrients to other parts of your body that actually are in use and require the nutrition. Similarly, if there is no tooth in the bone, and your jaw bone is not being stimulated every time you chew, your body will start to remove the bone from that area, and redistribute it. This is why often times feel an indentation " in the area of the "false" tooth of your bridge. This is because your body has moved the bone away from that are and redistributed it to areas that are in more use.
As Dental Implants are anchored into the bone, every time you chew, there is stimulation of the bone, and the bone cells continue to maintain the bone in the area. This is one of the biggest advantages to implants over bridges.