Missing teeth can ruin your smile and lead to other costly dental issues. Replacing your teeth is an important aspect of your dental health, and your options are far better than they used to be.
If you want to maintain your smile, the two most common options for tooth replacement are dental bridges and implants. Both offer viable options that will help maintain your toothy grin while also helping to prevent issues such as shifting and drifting teeth.
While dental implants offer the ultimate tooth replacement option, certain factors will help determine if it is the best option for you, taking into consideration your dental health and budget. Here we explore both options to help you decide which solution is right for you.
What are dental bridges?
Dental bridges used to be your only choice for a permanent tooth replacement solution; however, they still provide an excellent solution to replace a single tooth or a string of missing teeth. They offer a very natural-looking tooth replacement made of enamel.
Dental bridges literally bridge the gap between missing teeth. A bridge is affixed using two anchoring crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap. You need two healthy, sturdy teeth to act as abutments.
The bridge holds your replacement tooth in the center, which is crafted to match your remaining teeth in colour, shape and size. For the most part, bridges will last many years but do have some shortcomings.
First, you do need two healthy teeth on either side of the gap for abutments. These teeth will have to be filed down slightly to accommodate the crowns that will act as the anchors to hold your replacement tooth in place.
This can lead to hygiene issues while also trimming two perfectly healthy teeth. Although the neighbouring teeth are capped for protection, you still should keep this in mind when deciding if you would like to opt for a bridge.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are the most realistic tooth replacement option. Not only do they appear more natural, but they also are inserted using an implanted replacement “root.” As a result, dental implants look and act like your natural teeth.
This helps promote bone health as the implants help stimulate bone growth, just like your natural roots. The procedure requires surgery to implant titanium cylinders in your jawbone. The titanium is then allowed to fuse to your jawbone before your tooth replacement is set in place.
What are the benefits of a bridge?
Bridges look natural and also offer a far simpler and completed faster compared to dental implants. No surgery is required, and you can often have your replacement completed within 7-10 days.
What are the disadvantages of a bridge?
Because two healthy teeth are required as anchors, you might find these teeth are more vulnerable to issues such as decay. Bridges last roughly a decade but do have to be replaced even with perfect care. They also do not have the stability of dental implants.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Other than the fact your dental implants look and act like your natural teeth; they also promote jaw health.
If you are missing a single tooth, this is not as much of an issue. However, the more teeth you lose, the more you put your jaw health at risk. Because implants mimic the natural actions of your tooth root, it stimulates healthy bone growth while also helping maintain the appearance of your face shape.
With bone loss, you can develop facial features such as a “witch chin” as your jaw shrinks. They are also the most permanent option as they will last a lifetime with proper care.
What are the disadvantages of dental implants?
One of the big drawbacks of dental implants is the cost. If you are on a tight budget and your dental insurance doesn’t cover implants, it’s probably out of your reach. However, we can offer financial plans to help.
Dental implants are a far more complicated process requiring surgery and healing time. It can be uncomfortable and make it difficult to eat while you wait for the implants to fuse to your jaw. All in all, you can be looking at several months before the entire process is complete.
Who is a good candidate for dental bridges?
As mentioned, you do require two healthy teeth on either side of your gap to have a bridge. Without healthy teeth to support the bridge, we really can’t affix your bridge securely. As well, the presence of tooth decay or gum disease must be addressed before we can recommend a treatment such as a dental bridge.
Who is a good candidate for dental implants?
Dental implants require excellent dental, oral, and bone health. The jawbone plays a very important role in the procedure as it is needed to support the implants. In some cases, bone loss can be treated with bone grafts. This is often recommended when dental implants would be your best bet to help avoid further bone loss.
You will need healthy gums to avoid complications and infection. There are also risk factors that might affect the success of the procedure, including:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Uncontrolled gum disease
- Severe bone loss
Although dental implants cost more, they are the only truly permanent solution and will act exactly like your natural teeth, making them the ultimate tooth replacement option.
Before deciding on any dental treatment, we will discuss your options in detail to make sure we provide the right solution for you. We will also provide estimates so you understand the full cost of both treatments as well as answer all of your questions about what each procedure will involve.