Comparison of a tooth bridge vs an implant
Australian adults have an average of 4.5 missing teeth, whether lost due to an accident, tooth decay, or gum disease. Both dental implants and dental bridges can restore function and improve the appearance of your smile, but there are factors you will need to take into account before deciding that a particular treatment is right for you. Let’s take a closer look at these.
How many missing teeth need replacing?
Dental bridges are made up of one or more artificial teeth. They are supported by crowns that attach to natural teeth on either side of the space created by the missing tooth or teeth. The bridge is cemented in place once it’s fitted. Dental bridges can replace up to four teeth, but more commonly, it is one or two.
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made from biocompatible materials surgically implanted into the jawbone. After a healing period, a dental implant becomes fused to the natural bone, creating a strong foundation for custom-made replacement teeth. Dental implants can replace one or more missing teeth or support a complete denture.
Do you have periodontal (gum) disease?
Periodontal disease occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and/or below the gum line and is typically caused by poor dental hygiene. However, some people are more prone to it because of genetics, smoking or other factors. The first signs are red, swollen gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing. If left untreated, the disease can lead to tooth loss and jawbone deterioration.
If periodontal disease is the cause of your missing tooth, a dental implant may not be feasible depending on whether you have bone loss in the jawbone (and to what extent). However, a simple bone graft procedure (standard in these circumstances) can regenerate the bone to create enough volume and density to accommodate a dental implant.
Tooth bridge vs an implant – Procedure
Dental bridges typically require two appointments. The first appointment is to prepare the teeth on either side of the tooth gap by filing them down to accommodate the dental crowns that will hold the bridge in place. The dentist then takes an impression of the prepared teeth for the dental lab to make a custom bridge. A temporary bridge is fitted until your custom-made bridge is sent from the lab, taking between a few days to a few weeks. A second appointment is necessary to fit the permanent bridge.
The dental implant procedure comprises multiple stages spread over several months. The first step is to place the implant into the jawbone and wait until it integrates with the bone (which takes around three months. Once this has occurred, an abutment is attached to the dental implant post, and the procedure is finalised with the addition of a replacement tooth (crown). However, dental implants do not need the support of surrounding teeth to be viable, so there is no need to worry about filing down healthy teeth.
Dental bridge vs implant cost
Dental bridges are typically less expensive than dental implants, although the materials used will affect the final price. However, a dental implant can last for a lifetime with good care, whereas a dental bridge may need replacing after approximately 15 years.
Because a dental implant is surgically placed into the jawbone below the gums, it’s just like getting the missing tooth back again. Not only does it closely resemble the other teeth in your mouth, but it also functions the same.
A fixed dental bridge can be crafted from porcelain, making it look natural to your other teeth. However, it can place extra stress on the supporting teeth, increasing the risk of infection and decay. Furthermore, since the underlying bone is not stimulated as with dental implants, it will deteriorate over time, affecting the smile’s appearance.
Dental bridge vs implant summary
Asking yourself the following questions may help you decide what’s best for you.
- How many teeth do you need to replace? If you have only one tooth to replace, a dental implant may be your best option.
- How much money do you want to spend? Dental implants are typically more expensive than bridges. But, if you’re looking for a long-term solution, then implants might be worth the extra cost.
- Is it important for you to keep your natural teeth? With a bridge, the dentist will shave down two surrounding healthy teeth to make room for crowns that support the false tooth in the middle—but with dental implants, there’s no need to damage healthy teeth.
- Both options will give you a beautiful smile, but dental implants may be best for you if you want a hassle-free solution that looks and feels just like your natural teeth.
Still not sure about a tooth bridge vs implant?
It can be a tough choice, but you will need to discuss your suitability for each treatment with a dentist. In either case, if you have dental health issues, such as active gum disease or tooth decay, these will need to be dealt with before any restorative treatment is undertaken.
Why not schedule an appointment with the experienced, friendly team at Beyond Dental Care on (07) 3067 9086 and take the first step towards restoring your smile.
Australian Dental Association – How Many Teeth Do You Have? How Many Teeth Will You Keep?
Web MD – Dental Implants
Health Direct – Gum Disease