After Losing a Permanent Tooth: Dental Implant vs Dental Bridge
The loss of a permanent tooth can be traumatic. The good news is that dental technology and advancements provides several options for replacement. These options can include a dental implant, bridge or partial denture. The condition of your existing teeth, dental hygiene habits and insurance coverage can all be important factors in determining the best replacement option. This article will compare the benefits of doing a dental implant vs dental bridge.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are accomplished through a surgical procedure and is most successful when the patient has enough bone and tissue to support the implant. They are metal posts inserted below the gum line and fused to the jaw bone to provide stability for the replacement tooth. They act as an anchor to hold the replacement and allowing it to look and act similarly to a natural tooth.
The Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer a long term, stable fix for a lost tooth. You don’t have to worry about removing or placing the implant the way you would with a denture since a dental implant functions like a natural tooth. In addition, implants are built with longevity in mind and can last many years if properly cared for and maintained.
What Are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges are another viable option to treat the loss of a permanent tooth, which uses the teeth on either side of the missing tooth to create a bridge. First, crowns are placed on the teeth on either side of the missing tooth and are called abutment teeth. These teeth are then used to form a bridge and hold a false tooth in place.
The Benefits of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are helpful because they can help maintain the shape of your face and prevent additional teeth from shifting. If you don’t treat the gap left by the missing tooth you run the risk of bone loss and existing teeth moving out of position.
Which is Better?
When it comes to choose between the two options, the short answer is, it depends. Following are some aspects that you may take into account when making the decision.
The condition of your jawbone and existing teeth may dictate the best option. If the teeth around the missing tooth are not healthy, they may not be strong enough to support a bridge, leaving an implant as the best option. However, if your bone density is not strong but the teeth are, a bridge may be the best solution. Besides, there might be some potential dental implant problems if you are a heavy smoker.
Budget & Insurance
You may also take financial considerations into account when weighing your options. While it is tough to think of money in regards to your health, neither procedure is cheap. Your insurance company may cover one or the other. Contact your dental insurance company and research your coverage. Your dental professional’s office may be able to assist you as well.
Duration and Time
Another consideration is time. A dental implant may last around 25 years or longer. A dental bridge is made up of crowns which typically need to be replaced every 7 to 10 years.
It’s also important to consider the time it takes for each procedure. A dental bridge can typically be completed in two visits: prepping and installation. A dental implant can require three or more visits and a multi-stage surgery.
Dental Implant vs Dental Bridge: The Bottom Line
Whether you choose a dental implant or a bridge, be certain that you seek professional dental care in the event of a lost permanent tooth. Your loss can impact not just your comfort but also the surrounding teeth, bone and tissue. Good oral hygiene and a dental team you trust will go a long way in keeping your smile healthy for years to come.
About the Guest Contributor
Dr. Jennifer Brinkman, DMD is a dentist at East Valley Dental Professionals. She graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, MO with a BS in Biology. She also met her awesome husband, John, while in college.
I hope you found this guest article to be interesting and informative.
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