Losing your teeth can have a huge impact on the appearance of your smile and put a big dent on your self-confidence. At the same time, it also creates functionality issues. Two of the most common solutions that dentists use to address tooth loss are dental implants and dental bridges. But which of these two should you get? To make sure that you pick the right choice, read on as we go through each of their facts, pros and cons.
Implants are a great option if you lost a tooth to periodontal disease, injury or other reasons. An implant is a titanium post that supports a crown, which is surgically inserted to fuse into the jawbone. After this process of osseointegration is complete, the dental crown is cemented or screwed into it.
Pros of Dental Implants
Minimal maintenance – High quality dental implants can last a lifetime with very little maintenance required.
Natural looking – Implants look, feel and function like natural teeth. They are stable and strong, and give a confident smile.
Protects the jawbone – The open space in the mouth brought about by a missing tooth places your jawbone at risk for deterioration. Implants preserve natural bone growth to prevent bone loss.
No staining on teeth – Unlike bridges, implants stand on their own without putting strain on the other teeth. Thus, the surrounding teeth is protected.
Cons of Dental Implants
Surgery is required – Because the implants needs to be attached to the bone, surgery is required, which carries with it some risks including infection jaw fractures, nerve damage and more.
Healing time is long – Getting tooth implants require numerous office visits. Bones heal slowly, so the whole procedure can take months.
Can be expensive – The cost varies depending on the kind of implant and tooth issue condition, but its high cost usually deters people from getting tooth implants.
As its name suggest, a dental bridge bridges the gap between one or more missing teeth. The bridge is supported by implants or natural teeth on either side. It is composed of two or more crowns for each part of the gap. The anchoring teeth are referred to as the abutment teeth, while the false teeth in between are called pontics.
Pros of Dental Bridges
Simple procedure – Bridges do not require surgery, unlike dental implants, so they are less painful. A simple dental procedure is enough to fix your teeth.
Faster process – It is quicker and easier to get bridges, usually taking a few weeks at most.
Affordable – Although they are generally more affordable compared to implants, they are still strong and supportive for the mouth.
Cons of Dental Bridges
Less aesthetically pleasing – Because they are not as natural-looking compared to dental implants, bridges are not as aesthetically-pleasing.
Periodic replacement – Dental bridges need to be replaced after a few years, after about 5 to 7 years.
Damage natural teeth – Adjacent teeth will have to go through some amount of preparation, which requires the removal of some of their tooth structure.
The choice that will work best for you will highly depend on your unique situation. It helps that you work with your dentist and look into your state of oral health, basic finances.