Bridges vs. Dental Implants: Which Is Better?
Individuals who are missing teeth from periodontal disease, an injury, or other reasons can choose between dental implants and bridges for restoring uniformity and function with their bite. A dental implant is a surgically inserted tooth root holding a dental crown in place. Bridges are used to close gaps where one or more teeth are missing and are usually comprised of one or more crowns.
What are these tooth replacement options?
Traditional bridges are made of porcelain or ceramics fused to metal. The attachment is situated between missing teeth. There could be natural teeth on either side anchoring the bridge, or if teeth are missing, a cantilevered bridge attaches to a single tooth and expands over the gap. Bridges can be installed without surgery and are often constructed within a matter of weeks.
There are several types of dental implants, but they all replace missing teeth through permanent fixtures attached to the jawbone. A titanium post or frame is surgically attached to the jawbone, and an abutment attached to the frame extends above the gum line. Artificial teeth are mounted to the post and can last more than a decade when crafted from high-quality materials.
Longevity and maintenance
How long tooth replacement lasts is a primary concern of patients. With good care and fortunate circumstances, a bridge may last five to seven years. Dental implants have a much longer lifespan. Normal wear and tear may require replacement after about 15 years.
Appearance and comfort
Bridges do not look as natural as an implant, and the adjacent teeth are also more likely to be damaged during the fitting and placement process. A dental implant looks and feels like a natural tooth. It is also able to support itself, keeping other teeth from being damaged by strain or extra pressure.
Dentists provide expert advice on more than just tooth decay, making their insight into a replacement choice valuable. A dentist will evaluate where teeth are missing, the strength of remaining teeth, and any complications that could arise from choosing one option over the other. The timeline of replacement may also be considered, as age is a crucial factor in deciding which option provides the most cost-effective long-term treatment.
What are the challenges and benefits of tooth replacement?
Both of the replacement options provide individuals with the ability to regain functionality in their bite and speech. When teeth are missing, it can weaken chewing ability, create slurred speech, and increase the risk of oral infection. Implants can also prevent jawbone deterioration by preserving and stimulating natural bone growth.
Bridges, as the name implies, are for bridging gaps, so more appropriate for situations where significant tooth loss has not occurred. Gaps between particular sections of a mouth are good candidates for bridges, as a lack of natural teeth complicates attachment options. Dental implants do not require natural teeth for support and can be inserted regardless of the existing tooth structure.
Consulting with a dentist brings a well-rounded and expert approach to tooth replacement. With their insight, patients can get a solution that restores confidence in appearance, provides durability, and preserves oral functions.
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