09 Dec Mind the Gap: Dental Bridge vs Dental Implant
When it comes to a missing tooth, you may have a few questions: Which treatment option is right for me? What are the differences between a dental bridge vs dental implant? Which is the most cost-effective option? There are pros and cons to each option and several factors should be considered before deciding which route makes sense for you.
Dental Bridge vs Dental Implant
- Bridges. Your existing teeth are used to literally create a bridge to cross the area where your tooth is missing. Bridges are made from gold, metal, alloys, or porcelain to ensure that they are strong and durable.
- Implants. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root placed into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge in place.
Oral Care Considerations
Oral care is easier with an implant. Dental bridges are cemented in the mouth, and involve at least three crowns connected together to fill the space of the missing tooth. This design creates challenges when brushing and flossing, so extra oral hygiene instruction and meticulous home care are necessary.
In contrast, implants can replace teeth without affecting neighboring teeth, making regular home care easier. You can brush and floss around an implant just as you would a natural tooth.
Dental implants are more durable than bridges, allowing them to provide protection that lasts a lifetime. The implant is generally made of titanium, which naturally fuses with your jawbone through a process called osseointegration. Because this material is so strong, implants are highly resistant to decay and gum disease.
Dental bridges typically last about 10 years. A portion of your natural tooth remains beneath it and normal wear may cause the bridge to fail more easily over time. In general, the remaining tooth structure continues to be susceptible to decay and gum disease.
Implants often provide the most aesthetically pleasing result, as they look like natural teeth. If an implant is placed immediately after a tooth extraction, the natural level of bone can be preserved, making it look even more natural.
Dental bridges are cheaper upfront, but as we mentioned earlier, they may need to be replaced down the road. Although implants are more expensive, over time they can actually be more cost-effective as they are stronger and provide a permanent solution. Fortunately, most dental insurance providers will pay for a portion of or all of the steps involved.
While high-tech in nature, dental implants are actually more tooth-saving than traditional bridgework, since implants do not rely on neighboring teeth for support.
However, a dental bridge may be the best option for you if your neighboring teeth have large fillings and need crowns or caps in the future. And if the tooth or teeth have been lost for a long time, the gum and bone will have receded and procedures beyond the implant may be required before placement.
The Bottom Line
So, dental bridge vs dental implant? Bridgework is an older procedure, while dental implants have become more commonplace over the years—in most cases these are the preferred treatment to replace missing teeth when considering time and overall expense. But the advantages and disadvantages to both procedures can be discussed with your dentist here at Hicks Dental Group in Prescott to decide which option is right for you. Set up an appointment with us today to restore your smile!