Maintaining good oral health is essential for overall well-being, and when it comes to replacing missing teeth, there are several options available. Two popular choices are dental implants and dental bridges, but what sets them apart?
What is a Dental Bridge?
Dental bridges have been used for decades as a restorative solution. This prosthetic device can span one to four missing teeth and provide a stable surface for biting and chewing. The bridge has an anchor crown on each end that fits over the top of the teeth on either side of the gap to hold the prosthetic in place. Between the crowns are one or more pontics, or false teeth.
What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants function as a substitute tooth root where a permanent crown is placed on top. Patients may get one implant for each missing tooth, or they may get an implant-supported bridge where implants replace the need for anchor crowns and are used to affix the row of replacement teeth to the jaw.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
Dental implants are often a preferred option for restoring missing teeth because of their durability and longevity. They cost more upfront but can save money in the long run because they require less maintenance and put less strain on adjacent teeth. There are other advantages to dental implants as well.
Preventing Bone Loss: A dental bridge rests gently on the gums and attaches to existing teeth. There is nothing to stimulate the jawbone and prevent bone loss. On the other hand, dental implants are inserted into the jaw and help encourage new bone growth to preserve the strength and integrity of the jawbone.
Durability: Dental implants provide a stronger foundation for biting and chewing because they are anchored into the bone, whereas a dental bridge puts pressure on the surrounding teeth used to hold it in place.
Longevity: Dental bridges are subject to wear and tear and generally must be replaced every five to ten years. A dental implant may last much longer with proper care, only requiring the attached bridge or crown to be replaced periodically.
Protecting Remaining Teeth: The anchor crowns on a traditional bridge fit over the teeth on either side of the gap, but these teeth must be shaved down to provide enough room for the crown. The bridge is then cemented in place. This process can weaken the adjacent teeth and make them more susceptible to damage in the future. Dental implants do not rely on support from surrounding teeth because they are attached directly to the jaw where the missing tooth once was. Implant-supported bridges are connected to metal implants in the jaw bone, not to the neighboring teeth.
Choosing Between a Dental Bridge and Dental Implant
Dental implants may still be an option even if a patient has bone loss, as a bone graft can be used to rebuild and restore bone volume and density. Other health conditions may not be disqualifiers either, as long as they are well managed. Traditional bridges have long been the go-to solution, but with advances in technology and treatment, the advantages of dental implants have made them a preferred option for many patients.
Chesterton, Indiana area residents can learn more and find out if they are a good candidate for dental implants to replace multiple missing teeth by scheduling a consultation at Glacial Sands OMS at (219) 964-4321.