Dental Implants vs. Dental Bridgework
Try as we might to look after our teeth, it is almost inevitable that we will experience some degree of decay and damage over the years thanks to the considerable wear and tear that our teeth suffer. While there are many restorative treatments available, there are occasions where a tooth simply can’t be saved, and extraction is the best viable course of action. Of course, there are also times when a damaged or decayed tooth falls out before treatment can be attempted or an extraction performed.
Tooth loss may not seem like the end of the world, but it can have a significant impact on your day to day life. If the gap in your smile is obvious, you may find yourself feeling embarrassed and try to avoid showing your teeth. You may also find that your ability to bite, chew and even speak properly is affected depending on the location of your gap.
Fortunately, there are solutions to missing teeth and these come in the form of dental implants and dental bridgework. Which is right for you will depend on your individual circumstances and should be decided with the help of our dentist. However, we have put together the following information to help you understand a little more about the differences between them.
One of the latest, and arguably greatest, innovations in dentistry, dental implants are a highly popular method of replacing teeth that have been lost through damage or decay. Their unique design consists of three components:
- A porcelain crown which acts as the visible part of the tooth
- A connector
- A titanium post
In a dental implant procedure, the titanium post is inserted through the gum and into the jaw bone, below where the prosthetic tooth is to sit. Once in the jaw, the bone begins to grow around the post. This starts to happen immediately, but the entire process takes several months and when it is complete, the post is anchored firmly into the jaw. The connector is then used to connect the post to the porcelain crown, which have been designed specifically in the shape, size and color to fit with the rest of your smile.
Dental implants are permanent, and you can eat, drink, speak, laugh, sneeze and even sing as normal. You can even brush them along with your regular teeth.
Advantages of Choosing Dental Implants
Many patients opt for dental implants because of the number of advantages that they have over bridgework. These include:
- No impact on surrounding teeth. Dental implants are standalone and do not require neighboring teeth for support.
- Strength and durability. Once the healing process is complete, dental implants are arguably the strongest of all dental restorations.
- Minimal maintenance. There are no complex components to dental implants, meaning that maintenance of your new smile is minimal and rarely extends beyond attending your regularly scheduled check-ups.
- No compromises on your lifestyle. Because they are permanent, patients who choose dental implants can enjoy their usual foods, drinks and activities without to spare a thought for their teeth.
Considerations when Choosing Dental Implants
There are really only two major considerations when it comes to choosing dental implants to resolve your missing teeth.
- Reliance on healthy jaw bone. Dental implants need a good, strong, healthy jaw bone if the procedure is to be a success. However, it is still possible to opt for a slightly different design of implant if you do not have sufficient quality or density jaw bone.
- Cost. Dental implants have a greater one-off cost than any other type of cosmetic dental treatment. However, they are very long-lasting and with the right care and attention, could prove to be a very wise investment in the long-term health of your teeth.
Dental bridges have, until fairly recently, been considered the preferred solution for gaps in our smile. A dental bridge works in the way that you would probably expect – by bridging the gap caused by a missing tooth. In this space is a porcelain crown prosthetic that is attached to a wire. This wire runs along the back of the teeth, where it joints on to metal or porcelain crowns. These crowns are attached to healthy teeth either side of the gap and are referred to as abutments.
Advantages of Dental Bridgework
There are a number of reasons why a patient may choose dental bridgework over an alternative treatment. These include:
- Less invasive surgery. The procedure to receive dental implants is very invasive which many people, particularly those with dental phobia, find disturbing.
- No reliance on jaw bone health. Dental bridges can be used by any patient who has healthy abutment teeth either side of the gap. This makes dental bridgework suitable for a wider demographic of patients.
- Less expensive. The initial outlay required for dental bridgework is significantly less than in dental implants.
Considerations when Choosing Dental Bridgework
Unfortunately, many patients cite that there are a range of disadvantages to choosing dental bridgework.
- Can damage surrounding teeth. Since bridgework is attached to the natural teeth on either side of the gap, this can cause these abutment teeth to come under abnormal levels of strain. This could then cause problems with these otherwise healthy teeth, such as cracks or fractures. It could also cause abutment teeth to move position slightly.
- Head to clean. The use of wires in dental bridges can make them much harder to clean than dental implants. This could increase your risk of suffering from decay and periodontal disease.
- Ongoing maintenance. Unfortunately, dental bridgework is considered to be much less robust than implants and this means that more maintenance visits to our dentist will be necessary.
If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to discuss the differences between dental implants and dental bridges in greater depth, our professional and knowledgeable team would be delighted to help. Drop by our offices or call us to schedule an appointment.