When a healthy set of teeth loses one of its members, it can ruin the most perfect of smiles and hurt one’s overall appearance.
Luckily, there are two great options your dentist can rely upon: a dental bridge and a dental implant. Which is better? It really depends on a variety of factors. Keep on reading to better understand the differences between the two solutions, and what the right choice might be for you.
What are dental bridges?
A fixed dental bridge is a prosthesis (false tooth or teeth) that is cemented to adjoining teeth or implants, and cannot be removed like a denture.
Why get a bridge?
There are many good reasons to install a fixed bridge…
- Bridges provide stability by preventing adjoining teeth from migrating to a different position.
- Done right, they’ll match perfectly with your natural teeth for a great look.
- Bridges are a cost-efficient option compared with implants.
- A bridge procedure takes less time than one for an implant.
- Unlike with some dental implant patients, bone grafting to build up the jaw is not necessary for a fixed bridge.
What are the downsides to bridges?
Compared with dental implants, there are some limitations…
- Bridges reside above the gum line and, over time, may acquire harmful bacteria underneath the prosthesis. Diligent oral hygiene and care by a dentist is crucial.
- Wear and tear on the bridge’s metal parts may require replacement or maintenance more often than for an implant.
- To do its job, a bridge relies on firm placement of adjoining teeth. If those teeth become loose, another solution will have to be found.
And dental implants?
A dental implant is a metallic screw or post placed into the jawbone, topped by a prosthetic tooth, or crown, that functions like a real one.
Why get an implant?
- Implants are designed to give the jawbone stability without damaging teeth.
- The crown is colored to match the rest of a patient’s teeth for a natural smile.
- Implants are noiseless, unlike bridges, which have been known to make sounds from time to time as they move against the gums.
- Bridges are often more noticeable than implants, so if you have a missing or damaged tooth near the front of the mouth, an implant may be the best option.
- Implants help prevent the jawbone from deteriorating, since it prevents the bone and gums from shrinking due to the absence of a tooth.
- Unlike a bridge, which needs to be replaced, implants can be expected to last a lifetime.
Dental implant downsides
- Implants are typically much more expensive than a bridge, especially if more than one is required.
- Implant surgery typically takes longer and requires several procedures to finish and can take months to heal, unlike bridges which rarely take more than a couple of weeks.
The bottom line…
Regardless of your choice, both bridges and implants can go a long way toward restoring your smile and making you feel comfortable with your teeth.
It’s important to understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of each procedure and to get as much information as possible.
It all varies from person to person, so be sure to consult your dental professional before any decision.