A traditional bridge involves grinding down adjacent teeth into pegs to support the bridge. It is a stable solution with average esthetics and function that is fairly easy to make. However, this alternative has two main disadvantages: continuous bone loss in the missing area, and sacrificing healthy teeth on behalf of the bridge.
The teeth that are ground down on each side are much more susceptible to cavities and root canals. The average bridge only lasts 7-10 years. Often when the bridge fails, one or both of the ground down teeth is lost.
The next time the bridge is made, another tooth may have to be ground down to a peg to support the new bridge. This is the most aggressive, but yet most common way a single tooth is replaced. Most patients that had their teeth ground for a bridge regret it later in life. A bridge and an implant are about the same cost. In the long-term the bridge will end up being replaced several times in your life.
In this picture shown above, this patient is only missing two teeth! So in order to replace just the two center teeth, four other teeth had to be ground down. Two implants to replace the front teeth would have avoided the need for involving any of the other teeth. A two tooth problem, is now a six tooth problem!
Here is another one:
Three teeth ground down to replace just one!