The science of dentistry has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last 30 years. Patients who are missing teeth now have several great options available to restore their smiles. Dental bridges are a popular and long established method of replacing these lost teeth. Dental implants are a solution that has increased in popularity in recent years. But what’s the difference between a dental bridge vs. an implant? And which option is right for you?
Most dentists, including Dr. Nicholas F. Gardner of Gardner Family Dental Care in Gouverneur, NY prefer implants due to their strength, longevity and ease of care. However, numerous factors should be considered, including if your tooth loss is recent or happened years ago.
Practical Reasons for Both
In the past, a bridge was the only choice available choice for restoring a smile without dentures. But a bridge involves more changes than just replacing the missing tooth. The adjacent teeth on either side of the gap need to be prepared by chiseling away most of the enamel in order to attach the bridge, anchoring it to these teeth. With dental implants, Dr. Gardner embeds the replacement tooth directly into the jawbone resulting in a tooth that is stronger and permanent.
Nonetheless, a dental bridge may be the right option if the neighboring teeth have large fillings and need crowns or caps in the future. If the tooth or teeth were lost awhile ago, the gum and bone will have receded and procedures beyond the implant- such as bone graft surgeries- will be needed before placement can begin. The advantages and disadvantages to both procedures can ultimately be discussed with Dr. Gardner at your evaluation.
Your Oral Care Routine
Your ability to keep your mouth clean and healthy will be easier with an implant. Dental bridges are cemented to other teeth in the mouth, being comprised of at least three crowns connected together to fill the space of the missing tooth. The nature of this design creates challenges when brushing and flossing, so it is important to be meticulous when cleaning.
For example, flossing will require an additional step to thread the floss under the false tooth to prevent tooth decay and gum disease from setting in. In contrast, implants replace teeth individually without affecting the neighboring teeth. You can brush and floss around an implant just as you would your natural tooth, making oral hygiene much simpler and more effective.
Dental implants are more durable than bridges, providing protection that lasts a lifetime. The metal cylinder or post that is embedded into the jawbone is normally made of titanium or zirconia and this material fuses with your jawbone naturally, bonding to the bone and promoting new growth and renewal. The implant is mostly resistant to decay because it’s comprised of such strong material.
If a dental implant is properly cared for, the implant in the jaw will last a lifetime with only the crown (the false tooth mounted on top) needing to be replaced every 15-20 years due to normal wear and tear.
On the other hand, the average life of a dental bridge, is approximately 10 years and the entire bridge will need to be replaced once it begins to break down. Also, because a portion of your natural tooth remains beneath it, the remaining tooth structures continue to be susceptible to decay and gum disease.
The cost of the dental bridge is less initially, but it will need to be replaced at some point in the future. Implants – from preparation to final placement – may seem more expensive, but can actually save you money over time. Fortunately, most dental insurance providers now pay for a portion of or all of the steps involved in the implant process.
Implant treatment is also generally more flexible, allowing patients time to budget the cost in increments. The need for bone grafts for some patients inadvertently allows them more time to save for the next phase of the process.
Dental Implants in Gouverneur, NY
Both options are better than living your life being afraid to smile because you’re self-conscious about a missing tooth or having difficulty chewing. Although bridges are an older procedure, dental implants have become more commonplace over the years, and in most cases are the preferred method of treatment for missing teeth due to their durability and ease of care.
If you are considering dental implants, you need to see the best implant dentist possible. Dr. Nicholas F. Gardner of Gardner Family Dental Care in Gouverneur, NY is a skilled professional with over 14 years in practice. For a consultation with Dr. Gardner about dental implants or any other dental concern, please call (315) 203-1772 or schedule an appointment online today!