If you are missing a tooth, you might be able to decide between a dental implant and a dental bridge. There are benefits and drawbacks to both options, so it is important to fully understand both procedures. This will allow you to make an informed choice on which best meets your needs and goals.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a tiny screw made of biocompatible titanium that is inserted into the jawbone. Over the next three to six months, the implant will osseointegrate with the jawbone, establishing a strong, secure base for a highly realistic replacement tooth. Unless you receive an immediate-load implant, you will wear a temporary restoration such as a partial denture during the healing process.
Advantages of Dental Implants
Dental implants have quite a few advantages. These include:
Natural look and function: Dental implants are highly aesthetic and functional. They look, feel, and act just like your natural teeth.
Jawbone health: Anywhere you are missing a tooth, you are at risk for jawbone deterioration. A dental implant replaces the tooth roots, preserving the jawbone.
Preserving adjacent teeth: While a dental bridge relies on the adjacent teeth, a dental implant stands alone. It is always best to leave healthy teeth alone when possible.
Virtually maintenance-free: With scrupulous oral hygiene and twice a year dental visits, a dental implant can easily last a lifetime.
Disadvantages of Dental Implants
Of course, no dental restoration is perfect. Disadvantages of dental implants include:
Cost: Dental implants generally have a higher up-front cost than dental bridges, and not all insurance companies cover them.
Surgery: Dental implant placement is a minor oral surgery. Any surgery comes with minimal risks, including infection and nerve damage. Although still quite low, risks could be slightly higher for those with underlying health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
Time: Bone takes a long time to heal. Unless you have an immediate-load implant placed, you will need to use a temporary solution for three to six months.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge covers the space where one or more teeth in a row are missing. Anchored to the natural teeth at either end, a dental bridge supports replacement teeth in between. A traditional bridge is secured by crowns, while a Maryland bridge is bonded to the backs of the teeth.
Advantages of Dental Bridges:
There are several advantages to dental bridges, including:
Affordability: Strong and stable, dental bridges normally cost less than dental implants, and they are almost always covered by dental insurance.
Simplicity: Since no oral surgery is required, it is quite simple to prepare the teeth and place the bridge.
Speed: A dental bridge generally takes just two appointments. First, the natural teeth are prepared, and impressions are taken and sent to the dental lab. A few days later, when the bridge is ready, it is bonded to the teeth.
Disadvantages of Dental Bridges::
Of course, there are also important disadvantages to consider with dental bridges, such as:
Adjacent Tooth Damage: A dental bridge requires us to remove a fair amount of healthy tooth structure from the neighboring teeth. This raises their risk of tooth decay and even fracture.
Less Aesthetic: Dental bridges can look reasonably natural, but they connect the teeth to each other. A dental implant is disconnected from the adjacent teeth, creating better aesthetics.
Periodic Replacement: Most dental bridges will need to be replaced in a decade or less.
Which Should You Choose?
There are significant advantages and disadvantages to both dental implants and dental bridges. There is no simple solution to the question of which to select. Talk to your dentist about your budget, your treatment goals, and even how long you are willing to wait for a permanent tooth replacement. Together, you and your dentist can decide which option is right for you.
Ready to Get Started?
If you are ready to get started with a trustworthy and experienced dentist, contact Smile Shack today at 631-928-7500 to make an appointment.