If you are missing a tooth, your dentist may give you the choice between a dental implant and a bridge.. Each solution has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important that you fully understand both options. This allows you to choose the solution that truly meets your needs and goals.
The upfront cost for a dental bridge is significantly lower than that of a dental implant. However, a dental bridge must be replaced, on average, every 10 years. A dental implant can last a lifetime with proper care. Therefore, a dental implant is actually much more cost effective over the long run. If finances are tight now, a dental bridge might be the best choice. If you are able to invest, though, a dental implant is by far the better option.
Beyond price, there are other important considerations. Here is what you should know.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a tiny screw of biocompatible titanium that is inserted into the jawbone, replacing the tooth root. After a healing period of three to four months, the implant will be ready to support a permanent crown. You will wear a temporary restoration such as a partial denture during healing, unless you are a candidate for an immediate load dental implant.
Advantages of Dental Implants
There are several advantages to dental implants, including:
Natural look and function: A dental implant feels, looks, and functions like a natural tooth.
Jawbone health: Jawbone loss begins when a tooth is removed. A dental implant replaces the tooth root, halting and reversing this deterioration.
Preserving adjacent teeth: A dental implant is entirely separate from the adjacent teeth.
Virtually maintenance-free: Dental implants can last a lifetime with excellent oral hygiene and twice-yearly dental visits.
Disadvantages of Dental Implants
Of course, no dental restoration is without drawbacks. Disadvantages of dental implants include:
Surgery: Dental implant placement is a minor oral surgery, carrying a small risk of complications such as infection or nerve damage. These risks are slightly higher, though still very low, for those with medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
Time: Except for immediate load implants, dental implants require three to four months of healing before the final restoration is placed.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Anchored to the natural teeth, a dental bridge uses replacement teeth known as pontics to span the gap where one or more teeth in a row are missing.
Advantages of Dental Bridges:
Advantages of dental bridges include:
Simplicity: As no surgery is involved, placing a dental bridge is simple and easy.
Speed: A dental bridge requires just two appointments. First, your teeth are prepared and dental impressions are taken. When the bridge is ready, you return to your dentist to have it bonded to your teeth.
Disadvantages of Dental Bridges:
Of course, dental bridges also have important disadvantages:
Adjacent Tooth Damage: Placing a dental bridge requires a significant amount of healthy tooth structure to be removed from the anchoring teeth, placing them at risk for decay or fracture.
Less Aesthetic: Dental bridges can look reasonably natural, but they connect the teeth to each other. A dental implant stands alone from the surrounding teeth, heightening the aesthetics.
Periodic Replacement: Most dental bridges must be replaced approximately every 10 years.
Ready to Get Started?
If you’re ready to get started with a highly experienced and compassionate oral surgery team, contact Warren Oral Surgery today at 908-378-9494 to schedule your first appointment.