Having one or more missing teeth can really impact your quality of life. You might feel self-conscious about your smile, and there are important long-term oral health considerations as well.
Dental implants and bridges are both common solutions for individuals experiencing tooth loss. Each has benefits in certain situations that could make it the right choice for your unique needs.
Dental implants are a versatile restorative dentistry treatment that can restore missing teeth in a very wide range of situations. Implant restorations can be used to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth. Implants can even be used to create a full mouth of teeth with full arch restoration.
This method relies on the surgical implantation of posts into the jawbone to provide support for replacement teeth. The posts are typically titanium, although zirconia posts are gaining popularity. These materials are strong and demonstrate great biocompatibility, making them perfect for dental implants.
The dental implant posts are then used as a foundation for some type of tooth replacement. For individual teeth, a dental implant will serve as the base for a crown. For multiple teeth, two dental implants can support either end of a dental bridge. Full arch replacements rely on four or more implants spaced across the arch.
The crowns or bridges used with dental implants are practically identical to those used in other dental restorations. The only difference is that they attach to the abutment of the implant post instead of using an existing tooth as a foundation.
This means that patients will enjoy a natural-looking smile and the strength needed for proper chewing.
A dental bridge is another type of restorative dentistry treatment that can provide tooth replacement in many situations. Dental bridges can be used with dental implants but can also use natural teeth as a foundation.
A dental bridge is a row of several replacement teeth made of materials such as ceramic and zirconia. This provides strength, durability, and a very natural appearance of your smile.
The dental bridge will span a gap over one or several missing teeth, using healthy teeth on either end for support. These healthy teeth must be prepared to serve as the foundation through the same process that prepares individual teeth for a crown.
The dentist will trim away some of the outer layer of each tooth, providing a uniform shape that the bridge can attach to. The bridge is then fixed to the prepared teeth using dental cement that can provide decades of strong bonding.
Because the bridge is attached to two natural teeth, it is firmly fixed in your mouth and won’t budge under stresses like chewing. Dental bridges are a functional and pleasingly aesthetic option to replace missing teeth.
Dental implants and bridges are similar and often overlap in their applications, but there are several factors that will make one a better choice than the other for your unique situation. The cost, nature, and results of each treatment vary, and they aren’t always right for everyone.
In many cases, a patient will find out from a dentist near Haverhill, MA, that only one option is viable for their case. For example, dental bridges are only suitable if the patient has two healthy teeth surrounding the tooth or teeth to be replaced.
Similarly, dental implants can only be used if the patient has a healthy and large enough jawbone, although bone grafting is an option.
If both options are available, tooth implant cost is one of the biggest considerations between the two. How much are dental implants? While costs can’t be determined until your dentist has evaluated you, a dental implant costs more than a dental bridge because an implant replaces both the root and the crown of the tooth, which includes oral surgery. A bridge replaces only the crown of the tooth.
In terms of longevity, dental implants are often the best choice. The posts themselves generally last a lifetime, and the tooth replacement crown or bridge attached to them can last 15 years or more. With conventional dental bridges, you may need replacement within seven years.
Both dental implants and dental bridges play an important role in long-term oral health. They prevent other teeth from shifting into the gap left by missing teeth, which can often require orthodontic treatment.
While some general rules hold true about which situations are better suited for dental bridges or implants, the only way to know for sure about your treatment options is to reach out to a dentist near Haverhill, MA, for a consultation.
First Dental Associates can provide all of your dental needs, offering both dental implants and bridges. We’ll develop a personalized treatment plan to ensure you receive the best possible outcome. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.