Over 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth.
And if you are one of them, you might now be considering if you want a dental bridge or a dental implant.
Both are long-term solutions for losing a tooth, and both have benefits and drawbacks.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at what each procedure entails. We’ll also take a look at the pros and cons of a dental bridge and tooth implant to allow you to make the best decision for your health.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is when the dentist replaces a missing tooth by attaching a faux tooth to the two healthy teeth next to it. This means that you won’t have to have surgery and that the bridge can be fitted in just a couple of appointments.
With a bridge, you can rest assured it is fixed to your teeth and won’t come out accidentally.
What is an Implant?
A dental implant is when your dentist replaces just one tooth without involving any others. In order to create an implant, the dentist or surgeon will replace the system underneath the missing tooth with a metal post. Most often, it is made from titanium.
Then, a false tooth will be screwed on top of the metal post, fixing it there for good.
This is a permanent solution for one missing tooth.
You can then treat this tooth like any other tooth. You can floss around it, brush it and do anything else you can with a natural tooth.
So What are the Benefits to Having a Dental Bridge Done?
You may have read the definitions and still feel unclear on what the pros and cons are for each treatment.
There are several pros and cons to both treatments, so we’ll go over them all.
As far as bridges, one of the pros is that your dentist can fit it within 2-3 appointments. A bridge is typically much cheaper than an implant, meaning some people pay up to 75% less than they would for one.
The bridge is especially beneficial if the teeth next to the missing tooth need crowns as well, as this can be fixed with the bridge.
It also allows for the area under the gum to look natural. This is not always the case when it comes to replacing teeth, especially with other false teeth. However, your dentist places the bridge on top of the gum in a way that looks relatively authentic.
A major pro of the implant is that it only treats one tooth. You don’t need to involve the surrounding teeth in the treatment, meaning that treating the missing tooth won’t lead them to have further issues. You can also floss around the tooth, just like if it was a real one.
Implants also don’t need replacement. If your dentist knows what he or she is doing, you’ll never have to replace your implant.
An implant can also allow the jawbone, gums and bone structure of the mouth to stay healthy. This doesn’t necessarily happen with bridges, as they do not anchor or treat anything under the surface of the gum.
Bridges place a good amount of strain on the two teeth they’re attached to. As a result, the bridge does not last as long as an implant and is never expected to last a lifetime. In fact, you’ll be expected to replace your bridge a few times in your life.
A bridge also doesn’t address anything going on underneath the surface of the tooth. As a result, it doesn’t help your jawbone, gums or your mouth’s bone structure to stay healthy.
Your mouth will also continue to have issues from the loss of the tooth, particularly the loss of the root. This is addressed with the metal post with the dental implant, but not addressed with a dental bridge.
Some bridges can also lead to the loss of additional teeth, which means even more money spent on repairs.
Dental Implant Cons
A dental implant is expensive. For many, it is cost prohibitive and they simply cannot afford it.
The implant also only addresses one tooth at a time. This can be problematic, not to mention extremely expensive, for those who need more than one tooth fixed.
Many dentists may actually recommend a bridge over implants if you’re missing several teeth. This is due to the high cost, in addition to the strain it places on your body.
You will also need enough bone in your mouth to hold the implant in place. Because some people do not have this, they cannot have an implant even if they wanted one.
Lastly, the dental implant is placed through several procedures. You don’t just have the surgery and then leave. Instead, it is spread over several appointments and sessions. This can be not only costly but extremely time-consuming. You’ll need to fully commit to showing up at every appointment and be available to do so.
Which is Right for Me?
Speak to your dentist about your missing teeth. Together, you can come up with a plan. You can decide if a dental implant or a dental bridge is the right option for you.
Although one may sound more appealing than the other, there is really no “right” choice. There is only the right choice for you.
Your dentist can help evaluate your missing tooth, the gum and bone and what it will take to replace it.
If you’d like to discuss whether a bridge or implant is right for you, contact us via our website.