For those with space where a tooth used to be, there are several choices for closing the gap. Bridges have been around for a while but dental implants are fairly new in the world of cosmetic dentistry. To help you decide between the two, take a look at the below comparison.
Surgery is required for a dental implant and that consists of a titanium steel post, acting as the root of the tooth, which is implanted under the gum line. On top of that post is a natural-looking tooth made of various materials that vary by cost and durability.
A bridge doesn't require any surgery but it does depend on two stable teeth on either side of the missing tooth. A false tooth goes into the gap and is attached by wires to caps (or crowns) that cover the two teeth on either side of the gap.
Similarities Between the Two
Both options allow the dentist to create a natural-looking false tooth to replace the missing tooth. The tooth is molded to fit in like the missing tooth and will match your other teeth perfectly in color. When it comes to care of the implant or the bridge, there are similar requirements. Other than special care right after the implant has been inserted, both bridges and implants call for:
- Soft toothbrushes.
- Non-abrasive and tartar-control toothpastes.
- Flossing as usual.
- Avoiding hard foods.
See your dentist for regular checkups.
Differences in the Two
Dental implants involve surgery and that aspect can make them more expensive than bridges. It also takes more time for implants since the post is inserted and the gums must heal before the top part of the implant can be attached. On the other hand, you might qualify for implants in a day, a special procedure that allows both steps to be performed at once.
Beyond costs, implants may require the patient to have bone grafts if their jaw is not stable enough to support the posts. Bridges, on the other hand, may be inappropriate if the teeth on either side are not present or are not healthy enough to support the false tooth.
The location can matter when it comes to this choice. Dental bridges may not be as attractive if they are attached to the most visible front teeth and may work better on the back teeth. Dental implants look like your natural teeth no matter the location.
Finally, your bone structure will thank you if you go with an implant. Bones sense when a tooth is not there and can begin to deteriorate after a loss. An implant fools the bones into thinking a natural tooth is there and thus prevents the loss of bone. A bridge rests above the gum and has no positive effect on the bones.
To find out more and to help you decide, speak to your dentist about costs and other details of implants and bridges.