Should I Get a Bridge or an Implant?

by Douglas Liantonio (SU)

Bridge vs Implant

Missing teeth may not give you the smile you want, but did you know that missing teeth can leave your mouth vulnerable to infection, as well as put you at risk for losing more teeth? Replacing missing teeth will also help boost your self-confidence by giving you that beautiful, complete smile you’ve been missing.  Not so long ago, if you had missing teeth, your only option would have been a bridge or dentures. Thanks to advancements in medical technology, dental implants now provide a permanent solution to help give you a beautiful and healthy smile. If you are unsure about bridges vs. implants, read on to help you know more about each and evaluate which option may be best for you.

What is a Bridge?

A dental bridge helps to bridge the gap is created by a missing tooth or teeth. A bridge consists of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap, as well as a false tooth or teeth in between. Rather than just replacing the missing tooth, bridges require work on the adjacent teeth as well. The teeth near the one you’re replacing need to be prepared by removing most of the enamel to create the bridge.

What is an implant?

Dental implants consist of post that is quite literally screwed into place in your jawbone; this post serves as an anchor to attach a replacement tooth or teeth. Implants are durable and are meant to be permanent so there is no need for adhesives to keep your teeth in place. Dental implants look very natural, with the crown that is placed on the post matching the color, shape and size of the missing tooth. Patients report implants as being very comfortable and aesthetically appealing.

Comparing a Bridge and an Implant

When comparing a bridge and an implant, there are several factors to consider. They include:

·      Durability.  When it comes to durability, dental implants are more reliable than bridges because they provide lifetime protection. The implant’s metal cylinder is made of titanium, which fuses to your jawbone naturally. Titanium is very strong and resistant to decay and gum issues. A bridge, on the other hand, usually only lasts about 10 years because of normal wear and tear. With a bridge, a part of your natural tooth remains underneath. Unlike the implant, this remaining tooth fragment is susceptible to decay and gum disease.

·      Aesthetics.  Most patients report that the most pleasing results come from implants. This is because with implants, your replaced tooth is made to look just like your natural enamel. Those people with bridges find them effective, but not nearly as natural looking or pleasing as an implant.

·      Cost.  On the surface, the cost of a bridge may seem less; however, when making your decision on whether to get a bridge or an implant, you also need to consider that a bridge will most likely need to be replaced at some point, making an implant a more cost-effective long-term solution. If you have dental insurance, you should check with your provider, as some of these costs may be covered. In addition, many dentists offer flexible budget plans to pay off the cost of implants over time.

·      Changes in your daily oral health routine.  When it comes to daily care for your mouth, it is easier to keep your mouth clean and healthy with an implant versus a bridge. A bridge is cemented into your mouth and uses at least three crowns that are connected together to fill the missing tooth gap. Because of its design, a bridge can be more challenging when brushing your teeth. Flossing is even more complicated with a bridge because you need to thread the floss under any false teeth. Because implants replace teeth individually and do not affect the surrounding teeth, brushing and flossing with an implant is just like brushing and flossing a natural tooth.

So…Should I Get a Bridge or an Implant?

The best way to decide whether to get a bridge or an implant is to make an appointment with your dentist who knows you (and your mouth) as well as you do. There are some cases where a bridge may work best. For example, if may opt for a bridge if your adjacent teeth have large fillings that may eventually require crowns, or if your tooth has been missing for a long time and the gum/bone have receded. However, in most cases, when it comes to long-term durability, aesthetics, and care, dental implants have become the preferred method of tooth replacement. Be prepared that implants may take time, as the post must be secured into the jawbone; this process may take a few weeks or months, but the results will last a lifetime.

It’s time to get that beautiful and healthy smile you deserve. Bridges are effective, but if you are looking for long-term results, consider dental implants, which provide long-term support with endless benefits. The procedure is easier than you would expect and the results speak for themselves. Dr. Ari Binder

Choosing the Right Dentist

Dr. Ari Binder at 360 Dental uses 3D cone beam imaging to produce the same kind of high-quality images as a CT scanner, but with less radiation. By creating a panoramic view of your entire mouth, Dr. Binder is able to see the relationships between bones, teeth, and other structures. As a member of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, Dr. Binder is up-to-date on the newest, most effective and safest techniques to ensure your smile lasts a lifetime.

To see if you’re a candidate for dental implants, make an appointment with Dr. Binder by calling (541) 689-1645 or use our online form to request an appointment online.