If you lose one or more teeth, the appearance of your smile can be dramatically altered, not to mention the functionality issues that may result. This unwelcome change in your appearance can even cause your self-esteem to take a hit. Two popular treatment choices for missing teeth are dental implants and dental bridges.
If you are trying to make a decision between the two treatment options, you will need some solid information first to help guide you into making the best possible solution for you and your individual wants and needs.
Although each treatment approach deals with the same set of challenges, you will have very different options to consider from a technical viewpoint.
You may not fully realize how complex the underlying structure of teeth actually is. Teeth are more than just enamel. They represent a complex structure including bone, nerves and ligaments. When one of these elements is removed, others begin to slowly deteriorate.
A dental implant is simply a post that we implant within your jawbone where your original tooth was located. Titanium is the most popular construction material for this post. After we have implanted it, your jawbone should grow around it over the next two months or so. When we have determined that the titanium post is secure in your mouth, we will attach a crown to it. This crown will look just like your original tooth and provide a firm chewing surface.
When it comes to dental implants, the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages. One key advantage to getting a dental implant is that it can accept the chewing force that was once taken up by your missing tooth. Otherwise, surrounding teeth would be placed under an additional burden, potentially damaging them at some point.
Dental implants also help to ensure that you do not suffer any bone loss, or resorption. The presence of a tooth root encourages your jawbone to form a strong grip around it. When a tooth is missing, this bone begins to deteriorate. Getting a dental implant means that it will serve as a substitute tooth root and prevent bone loss.
Dental implants offer long-lasting results. Your new implant should last for a lifetime when you properly care for it and regularly brush and floss your teeth, as well as keeping up with your regular dental checkups.
One possible disadvantage to getting a dental implant is that it is a fairly expensive treatment. This is particularly true when you require multiple implants in different locations. If cost is a factor, you may want to get a conventional dental bridge instead.
A dental bridge helps to fill in the gap left by missing teeth. This procedure has typically been performed by shaving down adjacent teeth to accommodate the dental bridge. We then place a cap over the teeth together with the dental bridge to serve as a replacement for your missing teeth.
The chief advantage of getting a dental bridge is its affordability as a solution to missing teeth. Dental bridges do not require bone grafts when bone loss has occurred due to resorption. Dental bridges are also completed much quicker than dental implants.
Probably the largest disadvantage of getting a dental bridge is that it places additional strain on surrounding teeth, particularly those attached to the bridge. This means that they rarely last for a lifetime. The cement attaching the bridge can also wear away, allowing bacteria to harbor itself under the bridge structure.
If you have lost several consecutive teeth, your dentist may recommend a combination approach. You may find yourself in a situation where you have lost all molars. An implant could be placed at one end with a bridge attached to it.
A number of insurance companies view both dental bridges and implants as high-and, expensive procedures. But considering the great range in costs between the two, insurance providers pay more often for a dental bridge versus an implant.
To find the right treatment choice for you and your individual needs, we encourage you to reach out to us for a meeting. At that time, we can answer any remaining questions that you may have about dental implants and bridges.
Schedule a consultation with Boulevard Dental today to explore your treatment options for one or more missing teeth.