Choose the Best Treatment for You: Your Guide to Dental Bridges and Implants
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 69% of adults from 35 to 44 years old have lost at least one permanent tooth. Dental prosthetics like bridges and dental implants in New York restore the smile of state residents who have missing teeth.
Pros and Cons of Dentures
A dental bridge is a removable replacement for a missing tooth or missing teeth and surrounding tissues.
It has a base, typically made of acrylic, to which replacement teeth are attached. The base is colored to look like gums. A dental bridge is precisely measured to fit in the top or bottom half of the mouth to replace missing teeth.
This treatment is best for those who still have strong and healthy natural teeth on either side of the gap made by missing teeth.
These natural teeth, called abutment teeth, will be contoured to allow the placement of crowns over them. Some enamel will be removed in the process. The bridge will then be anchored permanently in place to the abutment teeth.
Dental bridges have a lifespan of 5 to 7 years, after which they need to be replaced.
Another disadvantage of dental bridges is that they place stress on the abutment teeth. The latter become more susceptible to decay and damage.
Pros and Cons of Dental Implants
Dental implants are screw-like posts that act as replacements for tooth roots. They’re usually made of titanium or titanium alloy. Zirconia implants, made of a type of ceramic, are increasingly used as an alternative to titanium for patients with metal allergies.
These posts are surgically implanted into the patient’s jawbone. After a healing period, during which the implants fuse with the surrounding bone, dental crowns—artificial teeth—are screwed onto the exposed top of the implants.
Dentures can also be permanently affixed to the jawbone using implants. Called implant-supported dentures, they do not slip, and they cannot be removed except by a dental professional. Implant-supported dentures require the removal of all remaining natural teeth.
Dental implants can last 15 years or more with proper care—they are the longest-lasting type of dental prostheses currently available. They also look, feel, and function more naturally than dental bridges.
Affixing Dental Implants to your jawbone requires surgery. Choosing an experienced dental professional to do your implants and practicing proper aftercare can help mitigate risks such as infection or bleeding.
Another downside of dental implants is that having them done is a long process. You’ll need to go to more than one dental appointment, and waiting for the implants to fuse with your jawbone and completely heal may take six to eight months.
Also, not everyone can be a candidate for dental implants. You need to have good oral health and sufficient bone density in your jaw to support the implants.
The placement of a dental implant requires great care and precision. As it is a surgical procedure it does come with some inherent risks such as infection, bleeding, bruising and possible nerve damage. All these risks can be mitigated by choosing experienced dental professionals who utilize 3D x-ray scanning, digital printing of guides and reputable implant companies. Practicing proper aftercare and abiding to the recommended medications can also help minimize any possible risks.
Which Is Better: Bridge or Implant?
To help you choose between the two, consider the following:
- A bridge requires cutting the adjacent teeth to allow the dental prosthesis to be cemented into your mouth. If the adjacent teeth already have crowns or large restorations, a bridge might be the better option.
- A bridge requires special attention to flossing and cleaning as one needs to thread the floss under the bridge.
- A dental implant is the closest replacement for your own tooth and allows you to floss and clean like a regular tooth.
The amount of bone and other anatomical factors need to be considered in this decision as sometimes implants require more extensive surgeries like bone or gum surgery prior to placement. “What is better” is a conversation best had with your dental specialist or dentist responsible for your care.
Other Treatment Options for Tooth Loss
Apart from dental bridges and implants, there are other options for people who wish to replace their missing teeth. These include partial dentures, complete dentures, and flipper teeth. Each option has its pros and cons, so it is best to research them thoroughly and consult your dentist before coming to a decision.
JBL New York City is a highly trusted cosmetic dentistry and advanced dental care practice. Contact us today to learn about dental implants and our other treatments for tooth loss.