Should You Connect Dental Implants to Natural Teeth?



Should You Connect Dental Implants to Natural Teeth?

Dental Implant Connected to Natural Tooth Via a Dental Bridge
No, you should NEVER connect a dental implant to natural teeth. There may be rare exceptions where this may be acceptable, but it really should be a last resort option. I have personally placed around 5000 implants and I have never splinted a natural tooth to a dental implant. Often times this is a shortcut technique, which like most shortcuts in dentistry, ends up failing.

Take the above illustration as an example which shows a dental implant connected to natural tooth with a dental bridge. This is not an ideal treatment option and is not recommended. A better solution would be to place an extra dental implant in the gap region to avoid splinting the dental implant to your natural tooth. Typically, this alternative treatment takes longer to complete and costs substantially more money, as it requires additional dental implants and bone graft, but the results are much more predictable with reduced risk of failure. My recommendation is to always try to keep natural teeth and dental implants apart from one another as they don't like to work with one another. Here are just a few reasons why you should never connect dental implants to natural teeth:

Differences in Mobility

Dental implants are very rigid foreign objects whereas natural teeth have some flexibility. So what happens when you connect a rigid object to a mobile one? Exactly, one of them fails. Connecting dental implants to other dental implants, or natural teeth to other teeth, is perfectly safe and acceptable. On the other hand, connecting dental implants to natural teeth leads to failure of either your natural tooth or dental implant and should be avoided.

Tooth Infection

Natural teeth are prone to developing cavities and becoming infected. Now what happens if your natural tooth connected to dental implant becomes infected? Well, you have to remove the entire bridge and place additional dental implants to replace the failed natural tooth and fill in the gaps. This is something that should have been done in the first place. Plus, removing a bridge that sits on top of a dental implant stresses the dental implant could cause the implant to fail.

Difficulty Flossing

Flossing is important, especially for your natural teeth. If you connect natural teeth to dental implants with a dental bridge, you won't be able to properly floss neither the implant nor your natural tooth. This typically results in cavities developing around the natural tooth over time. Eventually, your natural teeth fails and now you are stuck with a dental implant connected to a decayed natural tooth.

Defeating the Purpose

The whole reason you ended up getting dental implants was because you had bad teeth or bad gums. Why would you want to have another natural tooth to worry about going forward? Attaching a natural tooth to a dental implant not only causes your unnecessary stress and concern, but is more of a band aid treatment. Dental implant treatment is supposed to be definitive treatment, not a patch up solution. You don't want to have to go through a second set of treatment just to correct what should've been done correctly the first time. Separate dental implants from your natural teeth and they will all get along so much better!

Conclusion

Don't connect dental implants to natural teeth. Typically, one or two extra dental implants can give you the necessary chewing function you need while at the same time avoiding the necessity to include a natural tooth as a connector for your prosthesis. This may also mean that you have to receive a bone graft or sinus lift, which can be expensive, but at the end of the day is totally worth it. Hope this helped shed some light on your dental implant treatment to help you better decide on your treatment. If you live in Southern California and would like to schedule a complimentary dental implant consultation, contact us at Oceansight Dental & Implants for more information.

Brush 'n Floss Yo Teeth
Ali John Jazayeri, DDS

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