Dental Implant Vs Dental Bridge?
Dental Implant vs Dental Bridge. If you’ve recently lost a tooth due to Gum disease, severe decay, an accident, or other dental trauma, you may be thinking for replacement options. You have a few choices: dental bridges, full or partial dentures, or dental implants. But which do you choose?
When people lost teeth in the past, only bridges and dentures were available. Now the two most common tooth replacement procedures are implants and bridges. Let’s compare these two options, including the healing time, the process, the costs and the risks.
What is the difference between dental implants and fixed bridges?
Dental implants are titanium screws, act as a tooth root replacement, that are surgically placed into the jaw,where they fuse with the bone and act as artificial tooth roots. Because titanium is not recognized as a foreign substance by the human body, the dental implants essentially become part of the patient’s natural anatomy, providing unrivaled support for the dental bridge. Implant supported bridge are simply caps (crowns) placed on titanium screw itself. Therefore they save adjoining teeth from loosing some of the tooth substance.
Most patients with dental implants report little or no discomfort during implant placement. Local anesthesia is typically used during the procedure, and post-procedure soreness can be treated with over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen.
A fixed dental bridge literally bridges the gap between two remaining natural teeth. A false tooth, called a pontic, is placed between two crowns. The two surrounding natural teeth are cut down to fit the crowns and pontic (a bridge).
In the case of a bridge, a dentist will need healthy adjacent teeth for support. Therefore fixed bridges require that at least one tooth be present surrounding the site of a lost tooth. Advantage of implants is that they can be used to replace more than one missing natural tooth. With dental implants various combinations are possible as explained in above image.
The life expectancy of bridge work is less than that of implants. There are more things that can go wrong with bridges, as they are (in general) not held as securely in place. Tooth decay, for example can destroy a tooth that holds the bridgework, whereas an implant is immune to decay. However both can be damaged by gum disease, so you need to maintain good oral hygiene.
Initial treatment cost of dental implants is typically more than a bridge. However dental implants do last longer than fixed bridges and can be considered a wise investment for long term oral health.
Easy maintain and clean
If you are considering implants, you should take in consideration another important advantage -implants are easier to maintain. The cleaning process is very simple and flossing between implants is possible.
To get a bridge, you will have to undergo a simple dental procedure that involves no surgery, where as dental implants require surgical intervention.
A dental bridge is recommended in the case of jaw bone loss or significant damage. The process will be simpler, less painful and less expensive in such instances. It is important to know that the positioning of dental implants demands healthy bone or bone grafting procedure where sufficient bone does not exist.
Retain jaw bone structure
Once a tooth is extracted or lost, the bone that used to hold it in place shrinks away even after bridge is placed. If there are several missing teeth, this may result in a visible change in the shape of the face. This can make a person look aged. A great benefit of a implants is that they can help maintain the bone structure. A bone graft may first be needed, but once the metal settles, the bone will be preserved. Therefore the jaw shape will remain fuller and more natural. A dental bridge has no such benefits with regards to bone preservation.
When is it time for a dental implant or bridge?
When your tooth breaks badly or is loose, call your dentist immediately. Usually, teeth fall out due to periodontal disease (Gum disease) or dental decay. A missing tooth, in addition to feeling uncomfortable, can lead to bone loss and to the drifting of surrounding teeth, and a possible bite problem, later on.
Why should you choose an implant?
1. Improved oral health. This is perhaps thetop reason to choose an implant. They are made of titanium posts, which do not decay. Because bridges require surrounding teeth to be reduced and altered, they are still prone to dental decay and periodontal disease.
2. Increased durability. When cared for properly, implants’ success rate is over 98 percent. They can last a lifetime. Bridges will only last as long as the abutment crowned teeth. Bridges are also only as good as the adjacent teeth next to it. If a tooth falls underneath a bridge, the entire bridge is compromised and would need to be redone.
3. More appealing aesthetics. Implants are designed to match your natural teeth, making them aesthetically pleasing. Having a natural smile can lead to improved self-esteem.
4. Lower cost in the long-run. At first glance, bridges seem like the more economical option. But don’t be fooled. Bridges, as mentioned above, will only last as long as the adjacent teeth. You may have to replace it several times, depending on your age. Implants are permanent.
As mentioned earlier, a bridge requires natural teeth that had to be altered, which are at risk for disease and decay. This can also lead to future expenses.
Why should you choose a bridge?
1. Faster healing. Bridges are typically fabricated within one or two weeks, whereas an implant can take three to six months to heal.
2. Ideal if surrounding teeth need crowns. You can kill two birds with one stone here. Normally, the natural teeth are reduced to make room for the two crowns.
But if your two natural teeth adjacent to the missing space are already prepared and need crowns, a bridge may be more geniune option.
Who is eligible for a dental implant?
For the most part, anyone healthy enough to have a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can undergo a dental implant procedure. You are a candidate for implants or a bridge if you have healthy gums and adequate bone density to hold the implant.
Patients with uncontrolled chronic disorders, such as diabetes or heart disease, will typically not be considered, as these diseases interfere with the healing process. Heavy smokers and those with bruxism, or heavy teeth grinding, will be evaluated on an individual basis.
Children are not good candidates for a dental implant because their bones and palates are still developing. Usually, some thing temporary will be done until the child is old enough to receive an implant.
Knowing these factors will help you make an informed decision about dental implants and bridges. Each option has its advantages that need to be compared for an informed decision to be made.
If you have still unanswered questions contact us for more information about getting dental implants, bridges or other treatments for tooth replacement.