Are you facing the option of a dental bridge vs implant and not sure which choice to make? It can be devastating to lose teeth, not just because it affects how your smile looks but because it can also create functionality issues. It the gap left behind from your missing tooth or teeth is visible to others, then it can also knock a huge dent in your self-confidence. Two of the most common solutions that dentists recommend to address the issue of missing teeth are dental bridges and dental implants.
What’s best for you?
While both options replace missing teeth and fundamentally address the same problem the two dental treatments are very different. When you’re looking for the best solution for missing teeth then it’s important to know what treatment options are available to you. It’s also critical to have a full understanding of what each treatment entails before deciding which best meets your unique needs. Here’s all you need to know about dental bridges and dental implants to help you decide what’s right for you.
Firstly, what is a dental bridge?
Conventional dental bridges are also known as fixed dental bridges. They’re made up of one to three prosthetic teeth which are custom made and colour matched to blend into your smile, giving a seamless finish.
The prosthetic teeth are connected at either end with a dental crown that is fitted over the healthy teeth at either end of the gap left by a missing tooth or teeth. Once in place, they close the gap and restore the smile.
Other types of dental bridges
Sometimes there may only be one tooth adjacent to a gap in the smile. Under these circumstances, the dentist may recommend a cantilever dental bridge. This comprises of one or more prosthetic teeth, also known as pontics, and a single dental crown. The tooth adjacent to the gap is filed down to accommodate the dental crown and once fitted, the pontic projects into the space, effectively closing the gap. In most cases, a cantilever dental bridge is used to replace just one missing tooth.
Another alternative to a conventional dental bridge is a Maryland bridge. Considered a more conservative approach to missing teeth, this is secured in place by a metal or ceramic framework containing the prosthetic replacement teeth which is bonded in place to the back of the teeth at either end of the gap.
Dental bridge – Pros
- Restores bite functionality – Dental bridges restore functionality to your bite and help you speak more clearly. They also prevent neighbouring teeth from shifting, lowering the risk of misalignment in the future.
- Custom made to blend with your natural teeth – Our dentist will craft a stunning bridge that blends seamlessly with your natural teeth and complements your facial features
- Cost effective– dental bridges cost less than dental implants and are considered a cost-effective solution to missing teeth
- Speedy treatment – Treatment can often be completed in just two dental visits, making a bridge an excellent choice for those wishing to restore their smile quickly.
Dental bridge – Cons
- Needs regular replacement – One of the biggest disadvantages of dental bridges is the strain that is placed on neighbouring structures in the mouth, particularly the two teeth attached to the bridge itself. For this reason, bridges need regular replacement, although a well-fitted quality bridge can last up to 10 years, possibly more.
- Compromises healthy teeth – The other downside of dental bridges (with the exception of the Maryland bridge) is that the healthy teeth supporting the bridge have to be shaved down to accommodate dental crowns, and this can make them susceptible to tooth decay.
- Bone loss continues– Finally, a dental bridge does not prevent bone loss from occurring. This means that long term issues relating to bone loss will continue even though the problem of the gap has been resolved.
What are dental implants?
Implants act as substitute tooth roots. Usually made from titanium, they’re surgically inserted into the jaw bone where a tooth is missing. Over a period of a few months, the surrounding bone and soft tissue fuse with the implant to form a permanent fixture in the mouth. Once this has happened, the implant is strong enough to support a dental crown, bridge, or dentures.
Dental implants – Pros
- Standalone structure – One of the main benefits of dental implants is that they don’t require the support of their neighbouring teeth and it isn’t necessary for any teeth to be filed or ground down. More importantly, however, they stimulate the area of bone into which they’ve been implanted, so that bone loss doesn’t occur, and the bone remains healthy.
- Act just like natural teeth – Since implants become a permanent feature in your mouth, they act and feel just like your natural teeth. Not only do they restore total bite functionality, but you can eat any foods that you like with the same ease as when you had all of your teeth in place.
- Longevity– Since implants help retain the facial structures by preventing bone loss, they tend to reduce any long-term jaw issues. This means that, when cared for properly, implants have the potential to last for decades, and possibly your whole lifetime.
Dental implants – cons
- Expense – Dental implants are an expensive treatment, especially if you’re looking to replace several teeth located in different areas of your mouth. Even a single tooth replacement with a dental implant can cost upwards of $3,500.
- Requires surgery – Another downside of dental implants is that they require oral surgery and a sufficient amount of bone in which to place them. A lack of bone can be solved with dental grafting, but this lengthens the treatment time and increases the cost.
- Lengthy process – The dental implant procedure is normally carried out in several stages and can take up to 9 months to complete compared to bridge work, which may only require a few weeks.
Dental bridge vs implant – A mixed solution
If you need to replace a large number of missing teeth then it doesn’t make sense financially or technically, to use individual dental implants. Instead, your dentist may recommend an implant retained dental bridge as a more viable option.
Finding the right choice for you
The best way to ensure the right dental treatment to replace your missing tooth or teeth is to visit your dentist. Together you can sit down and discuss your best options. He or she will carefully assess the specific conditions of your individual case in order to make the best recommendation for your budget, lifestyle, and dental needs.
If you’re wanting to replace a tooth or teeth, then why not come and speak to the experienced dental team here at Dental 266 about your dental options? We utilise the best techniques and technologies to ensure the best possible natural and long-lasting results. In addition to our already affordable prices, we also accept most insurance policies for eligible patients and can confirm your claim right away.
Call us today on 02 9051 0600 or book online. We restore smiles beautifully.