The great debate for tooth replacement continues to focus on two time-tested treatments: bridges and implants. Most patients have no clue as to what option is best for their specific dental needs, thus making the process more confusing and time-consuming.
While your dentist will indeed discuss the pros and cons of each procedure at length, this brief, informative guide should get rid of much of the guesswork that goes into choosing the proper solution.
When teeth are damaged by infection, blunt force trauma, or poor genetics, they often require a synthetic replacement to look and function normally again. Dentures used to be the only option for patients in need of a quality dental prosthetic, but dental implants or bridges have given way to more advanced and custom-designed products.
Implants work best when replacing individual teeth. As it is by far the most conservative treatment that provides the best long term prognosis and success. Once the gap has been cleaned and prepped for insertion, the implant is placed inside the canal where it is left to fuse with the jawbone via osseointegration. This process takes a few months to complete, but once finished will ensure the implant is as stable and sturdy as the original tooth, even more so.
The natural fusion of bone around the implant device prevents it from coming loose, and is vital for withstanding various biting forces in the mouth. Once a tooth is lost, the progression of bone lost at the area without the tooth will continue throughout life, with most drastic bone loss immediately following a tooth lost within the first two years. Implants are excellent choices for people who need to restore normal function and it is the only way to prevent further progression of bone loss after a tooth lost.
This procedure also does not require that adjacent teeth be grinded down, as is the case with most types of bridges; implants are thus a highly non-intrusive tooth replacement method. Above all, the quality and longevity of dental implants is their ultimate advantage. With proper oral hygiene, these synthetic devices can provide many years of unobstructed use.
As the name connotes, a bridge is a structure consisting of two crowns and a false tooth or teeth (depending on how many teeth need to be replaced). The crowns are attached to the healthy teeth on either side, which is why they must be ground down to the appropriate height.
Whereas implants replace the entire root of a tooth, bridges are situated above a patient’s gum line. Since bridge operations can be completed much faster than those of implants, their total cost tends to be a lot less as well. However, the trade off comes with a shorter lifespan and the potentially higher failure rate by secondary decay and that we still cannot stop the progression of bone loss throughout the years at the missing tooth site. However, sometimes a bridge can be an excellent replacement for a missing tooth while the right conditions apply. So ask our expert at City Oasis Dental to see which treatment is right for you.
It is crucial to note that our jawbones deteriorate naturally over time when there is no teeth support at the site; regardless of how great your oral hygiene is, nothing can be done to prevent this process entirely. The rate of bone loss deterioration is exacerbated when a tooth is missing, so one of the critical functions of an implant is to stop the continuation of bone loss.
Depending a patient’s age, oral health state, and decision to have a bridge inserted, he or she may not be able to have a future implant without undergoing extensive bone grafting surgery. Implants are the only solution to prevent continuation of bone loss, so this is definitely something to take into consideration when choosing between the two prosthetics.
The ideal choice between these two common dental procedures is the one that most suits your needs; ask your doctor which type they recommend. The decision will ultimately come down to personal preference, budget, and recommendations for your oral health.