Dental Implant vs Dental Bridge
Losing teeth, particularly as a result of aging, is one of the most common dental conditions in the US. Over the last three decades, teeth replacement procedures have come a long way as patients may be concerned with infection resulting from the missing or extracted teeth in addition to restoring functionality and a healthy appearance. Two options for replacing teeth are eden prairie dental implants and dental bridges but patients may be wondering what the difference is between the two and which option is best for their situation.
Historically, bridges were the only choice for replacing lost teeth and still involve more than just the missing tooth (or teeth). In order to place a bridge, most of the enamel of the adjacent teeth need to be prepped or removed in order to fabricate the bridge for placement. If the adjacent teeth have large fillings and need crowns or caps later in life, a dental bridge may be the best option. On the other hand, dental implants generally do not affect surrounding teeth as the dentist only replaces the individual tooth resulting in a stronger, more permanent, and aesthetically pleasing restoration. However, if the tooth or teeth have been missing for a long time resulting in gum recession, patients may require additional procedures, prior to placing the implant, to restore the gum and jawbone. While a patient should discuss both procedures with their dentist to determine which is best for their situation, there are other considerations to be aware of.
One such consideration is that your oral care routine will be impacted based on which option you choose. Since dental bridges are typically cemented in the mouth and require connecting at least three crowns to fill the gap created from the lost tooth, patients may find the design causes difficulties when flossing and brushing. Without a meticulous oral hygiene routine to clean the areas under the false teeth, decay can result and necessitate further treatment. Dental implants avoid this dilemma since they are designed to replace individual, rather than multiple, teeth. As such, patients can generally continue to floss and brush around the implant just as they would their natural teeth.
Durability is another consideration for patients as dental implants are more durable than bridges. Implants are usually made of titanium and the material fuses with your jawbone through a natural healing process known as osseointegration. Since the material is so strong, implants are highly resistant to decay and can last for 25 years or more. On the other hand, dental bridges typically last about 10 years. Because a portion of the natural tooth remains, normal wear can cause the bridge to fail more easily over time and the remaining structure of the tooth will continue to be prone to gum disease and tooth decay.
Finally, cost must be considered when choosing between bridges and implants. While they are initially less costly and the process for placing them is quicker, bridges do not last as long as implants and will need to eventually be replaced. Because the procedure for implants happens in stages over a period of months, patients may find the time factor allows them to better budget cost. Despite implants being more costly upfront, they can be more cost effective in the long run due to their higher durability.
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