What To Choose, Dental Implants vs. Dental Bridges

What To Choose Dental Implants vs. Dental Bridges

If you are faced with the decision of how to replace a lost tooth, it’s important to look into the pros and cons of your options before you make a decision.

Implants

When a patient gets an implant, a post is drilled into the bone and a crown is attached to replace the missing tooth.

Pros- Because implants do not involve other teeth to remain secure, this method does not do any damage to healthy teeth. It is the most permanent option for replacing a tooth because they do not require replacements. Implants can last a lifetime, whereas bridges break easily. This is the best option for those who have several teeth missing. Since there aren’t other teeth to attach to, it might not be possible to do a bridge, but with implants there are several options. If there aren’t any teeth left, placing implants allows for a solid hold for dentures to attach to rather than using glue. With implants, regular brushing and flossing will the clean the area, so maintenance is easier.

Cons- Usually the process of getting an implant is longer than people think. If your bone is not strong enough to hold an implant post, a bone graft must be placed. The bone graft needs to heal for at least 6 months before the implant can be placed, and then the implant and bone graft must heal for another 6 months together before the crown can be put onto the post. So, if you don’t have strong bone because of infection, it takes a year before you’ll have an actual tooth there, and if your bone is strong enough, it will be 6 months. Implants are also more expensive than bridges are usually. More insurance policies cover bridges than implants.

Bridges

A bridge is a row of crowns attached to one another made to replace a missing tooth. Two surrounding teeth are shaved down, and the row of crowns is secured over the two stable teeth, filling the hole with a crown.

Pros- Bridges are cheaper than implants, and most insurance plans cover bridges but not many plans will cover implants. Another plus for bridges is that it does not involve intense surgery. Usually it can be done in 2 or 3 simple visits to the dentist. You can get a bridge regardless of the state of your bone, and you’ll have a tooth surface for chewing relatively quickly. Usually the process of getting the impression and having the bridge put on is around a month or less, so you’ll have a tooth sooner than you would with implants. They are easy to get used to and comfortable to wear since they are shaped to fit your specific bite and adjacent teeth.

Cons- Because bridges need to attach to adjacent teeth to fill the place of the missing tooth, it puts extra strain on the other teeth, and you may cause damage to healthy teeth when attaching the bridge. Bridges also need to be replaced periodically because they are not as permanent and stable. They break easily after years of chewing, and they also may start to slip and move around when chewing. You cannot floss in between teeth with bridges so it becomes more difficult to keep infection from the adjacent teeth.

Talk to your dentist and do your research to see what is best for your situation.

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