Dental Implant vs Dental Bridge

Before the dental implant was introduced in 1951 you only had one option for teeth replacement and that was the dental bridge. In the following decades, the popularity of the dental implant has accelerated with more than 500,000 implant procedures a year. Both restoration methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Each scenario is based on personal circumstances that your dentist and you will find beneficial. Here are some documented differences to help you make your decision.

Practicality-Understand the Difference

Let us first identify the difference between the two replacement methods. If you have a recent missing tooth, either from a planned extraction or an unfortunate accident, it is in your best interests to replace that tooth and fill that gap. If you do not the neighboring teeth will drift and shift into that gap and affect your overall bite alignment. Of course, there is also your smile to be aware of. Your smile impacts your self-esteem and your self-confidence.

A dental bridge relies on the two teeth on each side of the gap for support. A crown is placed on each of these teeth after the removal of a thin layer of enamel. Those two crowns then serve as anchors to support the suspended artificial tooth, or crown, which fills the gap. These two adjacent teeth are called abutments, hence the term dental bridge.

A dental implant will not involve any neighboring teeth. A small hole is drilled into the jawbone and a small titanium post is surgically placed into that hole. After adequate healing, which is usually a few months, the post will fuse or bond to the bone. An extension, or abutment, is placed on the post to reach the gumline surface. The last step is a porcelain or ceramic crown, custom fabricated at a dental lab, cemented on the abutment.

Several Identifiable Differences

Beginning with a visual or aesthetic benchmark, the dental implant is superior to the bridge. By not being attached to the adjoining teeth it will look natural. The second major difference is durability or permanence. The life expectancy for a dental bridge is around 10 years. The dental implant can easily double that with proper care. Even though the titanium post functions as an artificial root making the implant extraordinarily strong, the crown is still porcelain or ceramic and susceptible to cracking with biting or chewing hard objects. You may have to choose the dental bridge if your jawbone is not strong enough to support the implant. If your dentist observes negative gum issues, that might stymie the implant option. From a cost perspective the bridge is more affordable since your insurance company will most likely not pay for the entire cost of the implant.

Proper Care

Both restorations still need consistent proper daily oral hygiene. Continue to brush your teeth twice a day, floss once, and get into the preventative habit of visiting your dentist twice a year for checkup evaluations to extend the life of natural or artificial teeth. They will also professionally clean your teeth which is great for the health of your entire mouth.

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