What’s the difference between bridges and implants?
A dental bridge is used to ‘span’ the gap left by one or more missing teeth. A pair of crowns are used to cover the two natural teeth at either end of the bridge. These are then used to anchor a framework containing a crown to replace each of your missing teeth. While the gap is closed, the artificial teeth are not fixed into the jaw.
A dental implant, on the other hand, is an artificial tooth root made from titanium that’s surgically inserted into the jaw bone and left to fuse with the surrounding bone. Once that has happened, it’s topped with a dental crown and becomes a permanent fixture in your mouth.
Whether you opt for a bridge or implants is likely to be determined by your oral and medical health, your lifestyle and your budget, so read on to find out more.
Dental Bridge – The Pros and Cons
Not sure if a dental bridge is your best option? Check out the pros and cons
Pros of dental bridges
- Speed– Dental bridges are a popular choice with many people because of the speed at which the restoration takes place. In many instances no more than 2 visits to the dental clinic are required. The first for a consultation and impression taking, and the second visit to fit the bridge.
- Less restrictions on candidacy – A dental bridge doesn’t require surgery and can be offered to an adolescent. To be a suitable candidate, the supporting teeth at either end of the bridge need to be strong and healthy. If you suffer from gum disease, tooth decay, or have cracked or chipped teeth, you may need to have additional dental treatments before the teeth are sufficiently strong to support a bridge.
- Compromises healthy teeth – While it could be argued that a dental bridge is a less invasive treatment than dental implants, it could also be said that it’s more invasive than dental implants. Confused? Let’s explain. We’ve already told you that the teeth at either end of the gap are used to secure a dental bridge and are covered with a crown. Unfortunately, the dentist needs to file down both of these healthy teeth in order to accommodate the crowns. This can weaken these teeth and make them more susceptible to tooth decay.
- Does not prevent bone loss – Bone loss which occurs after tooth loss continues even with a dental bridge. Eventually, this causes instability and, in some cases, a bridge may need replacing in as little as 5 years.
What about dental implants? What are the pros and cons?
Pros of dental implants
- Retains jaw health – The biggest benefit of dental implants is that they keep your jaw healthy. Because they’re fitted directly into your jaw bone, the bone tissue that once supported the natural tooth root is stimulated once again. As a result, further bone loss is halted, once and for all.
- Long lasting – When cared for properly, a dental implant can last for upwards of 20 years. Because it’s fitted into your jawbone, it also means you can eat pretty much any of the foods that you ate before you lost your teeth.
- Stand-alone treatment – Unlike a bridge, dental implants don’t rely on surrounding teeth to support them, so no healthy teeth are damaged to make way for this type of restoration.
- Lengthy procedure – In many cases, dental implants require several stages and can take up to 9 months from start to finish.
- More restrictive candidacy requirements – You need to have gone through adolescence before receiving a dental implant. You also need to be in relatively good health to undergo surgery. If you suffer from diabetes or leukaemia, have thyroid problems or a blood disease, then there is a higher risk of implant failure. If you’re a smoker you will need to quit before and during the procedure.
- Higher cost – Implants cost more than dental bridges and are usually not covered by dental insurance. Although a few companies are now covering part of the restoration process.
Hopefully, this has cleared up some of the differences between the two dental treatments. However, if you’re still not sure about which is best – dental bridge vs dental implants, then why not come and have a chat with the friendly team at MyHM Dentist?
We provide a free dental implant consultation and can discuss your best dental options with you. Call MyHM Dentist today on 02 9158 6379 or book online and take the first steps to restore your smile.