When it comes to replacing one or more missing teeth, the choice often comes down to a dental bridge or dental implants. Getting a proper replacement is important in order to restore the appearance of your smile. If you are considering the tooth replacement process, then you may want to know about the difference between dental bridges and implants, and which option would work best for your condition.
A comparison of dental bridges and implants
A few decades ago, a dental bridge was basically the only option for missing tooth replacement. With this option, the adjacent teeth need to be prepared by filing down a part of the enamel. With dental implants, however, the dentist needs to replace only the lost tooth for a stronger and permanent solution.
Nevertheless, a dental bridge may be the better choice if the nearby teeth have a large filling and require crowns for protection. Also, if the tooth or teeth have been missing for a while, the gum and bone will have receded, and additional procedures such as bone grafting may likely be necessary before placing implants. In such cases, a dental bridge would be the more appropriate option. The time taken to place bridges is significantly shorter than that for implants.
Changes to oral care routine
It is easier to maintain oral hygiene with dental implants. Patients can clean their new teeth like the rest of their natural teeth. Dental bridges are fixed or cemented, and at least three crowns are held together to fill the gap of the lost tooth. This structure makes flossing a bit more challenging, so it is necessary to take extra measures for adequate cleaning. In this case, specially designed toothbrushes and flossers will be helpful.
Dental implants are more durable than bridges, which means they can provide dental functions for a lifetime. The implant’s posts are usually made of titanium, and the material integrates with the jawbone naturally. Since the metal is strong, it is highly resistant to decay and infection.
On the other hand, the average lifespan of a dental bridge is about 10 years. The part of the natural tooth remains under the crown and normal wear can cause the bridge to deteriorate gradually. Essentially, the underlying tooth structure is still vulnerable to decay and gum disease.
This is hard to determine, but the dentist can provide advice on this aspect. Typically, an implant will give the most aesthetically pleasing result, but a dental bridge can also be customized to match the rest of the natural teeth. The appearance essentially depends on the dentist handling the procedure. Implants have an advantage over bridges in that they also replace the lost tooth roots, preserving natural bone structure. This contributes to the overall cosmetic appeal.
Do you currently have a missing tooth?
You should make a choice between the dental bridge and implants after consulting with an experienced dentist. The dental professional will examine the mouth and will make a recommendation based on what is more appropriate for your situation.
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