Dental technology has greatly advanced in the last 30 years so that people that are missing teeth now have multiple options available to restore the appearance and functioning of their smiles. Dental bridges are the long established method of filling the gaps in your smile left by missing teeth. However, dental implants are the newer method that has become increasingly popular recently. But what’s the difference between a dental bridge and a dental implant and which one is the right treatment for you?
Most dentists including Dr. Nish Patel of Manatee Advanced Dentistry in Bradenton, FL prefer implants due to their strength, longevity and ease of care. However, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration when making the decision, including if your tooth loss is recent or happened years ago.
Practical Reasons for Both
In years past, a bridge was really the only choice for most patients. But, a dental bridge involves more than just the broken, damaged or missing tooth. The teeth on either side of the gap left by the missing tooth need to be prepared to act as abutments (supports) for the dental bridge by having most of the enamel removed from these teeth in order to place the bridge.
The abutments are crowns that are mounted on these prepared teeth that have an attached crown in between that replaces the missing tooth.This process can be uncomfortable and can make cleaning around these teeth more difficult. Nonetheless, a dental bridge may be the ideal option for you if the adjacent teeth have large fillings and will most likely need crowns or caps in the future anyhow.
With dental implants, Dr. Patel or your area dentist places the replacement tooth directly into the jawbone like a screw into wood resulting in a tooth that is stronger and permanent. If the tooth or teeth were lost a long time ago, the gum and bone tissue may have receded and bone graft surgeries will be required for the jawbone to be strong enough to support an implant. The advantages and disadvantages to both procedures can ultimately be discussed with Dr. Patel or your area dentist.
Your Oral Care Routine
Your will be better able to keep your mouth clean and healthy with an implant. Dental bridges are cemented in the mouth, and consist of at least three crowns joined together to fill the space of the missing tooth. The nature of this design can make brushing and flossing a challenge, so it is important to be thorough when cleaning your bridge. Flossing, in particular, will require an extra step as you must floss under the false tooth to prevent gum disease from setting in.
Implants, on the other hand, replace teeth individually without affecting the adjacent teeth or the space in between. Because of this, you can brush and floss around an implant just like your natural teeth, which makes oral care much easier and more effective.
Dental implants are more durable than bridges, providing a solution that can potentially last a lifetime. The titanium cylinder or post that is embedded into the jawbone — called the implant — naturally fuses with your jawbone in a process called osseointegration. If a dental implant is properly cared for, the implant can last for decades and only the crown — the prosthetic tooth mounted on top — will need replaced every 15-20 years due to normal wear and tear. Conversely, the average lifespan of a dental bridge is approximately 10 years. At which point, the entire bridge will need to be replaced. Also, because your natural tooth remains living beneath the abutment crowns, they will continue to be susceptible to decay and gum disease and will be more difficult to clean and care for properly.
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 to budget the cost in increments as they wait for their jawbones to heal from bone graft surgeries need to support the implant.
Dental Implants in Bradenton, FL
Both options are better than living your life being self-conscious about smiling or having difficulty chewing properly. Although bridges are an older procedure, dental implants have become more commonly available in recent years, and in most cases are the preferred method of treatment to replace missing teeth due to their durability and ease of care.
If you are considering dental implants, you’ll want to see the best implant dentist practicing in your area. Dr. Patel of Manatee Advanced Dentistry in Bradenton, FL is a skilled professional with years of experience in practice who advances his education with hundreds of hours of additional training every year to perfect his craft. For a consultation with Dr. Patel about dental implants or any other dental concern, please call 941.209.4315 or schedule a consultation online today!