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In the old days, your options for what to do when a tooth fell out or needed to be extracted were pretty limited. But as technology grows, so does our ability to replace missing teeth with more useful and innovative methods.
Two of the most popular ways to fix a few missing teeth at once are implants and bridges. And while both of these processes will restore your teeth, they’re two very different options that might not be right for everyone.
If you’re in the market for teeth restoration and aren’t sure which method to choose, keep reading. We’re going to take a look at the difference between a dental bridge vs implant so you can determine which is the best choice for you!
What Is an Implant?
A dental implant is a system of rooting false teeth into your mouth by planting a screw-like base into the bone of your mandible and maxilla.
These screws, over time, will start to encourage your bone to grow up and around, keeping the shape of your jaw the same even after experiencing the loss of your teeth.
An abutment is then placed on top of the implant to support the crown, which is made to match your natural teeth. These crowns are custom fit just for your teeth.
Implants have existed for 30 years and over time they have become the best way to affix false teeth into your mouth with the least amount of issues down the road.
The Process of Implant Installation
To receive dental implants you have to undergo a surgical procedure. There are a few different types of surgery that could be performed based on the kind of implant you need and the shape your jawbone is currently in.
Before getting you set up for a dental implant, your oral surgeon will need to give you a complete dental exam with x-rays and 3D images. This is important so they can get a clear image of the current state of your oral health. They’ll also be able to tell what’s under your gums before they have to implant the artificial root.
They’ll take a complete medical history as well, just to make sure you’re in good health and will be able to handle the surgery.
The surgery for dental implants usually takes place over some time, with several different steps involved.
First, your dentist or surgeon will remove your damaged tooth, if it’s still in your mouth. Then they’ll give your body time to heal from any infection that might be lingering under the gums. There might be a need for them to prepare your bone with a graft if the damage is bad enough that your bone needs restorative work done.
From there, they’ll insert the implant. After the implant is inserted you’ll need time to heal so that your bone can grow and heal around the area.
Then, they’ll place the abutment and put your artificial tooth in place.
This is a process that can take months to complete. However, it’s important to let your mouth heal after each process so that the implant takes and heals properly.
The Pros and Cons of a Dental Implant
There are a few cons to getting a dental implant. As we mentioned, the process itself can take a long time and you’ll be without a functional tooth until the whole experience is over. Also, the cost may be prohibitive to some people.
There’s also the added stress of the procedures that could deter people from getting a dental implant.
However, all the pros dramatically outweigh the cons.
Once you lose your tooth your bone will start to recede. This will cause the bone around your other teeth to recede as well, which could mean that your other teeth could get loose. Periodontal bone loss could cause several issues.
However, with a dental implant, your bone will start to heal and grow around the artificial root.
Additionally, with a dental implant, you don’t have to worry about the false tooth falling off or coming loose in your mouth as you do with partial dentures or dental bridges. They’re sturdy and they function the same way as a real tooth does in every way.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is much different than an implant. Instead of inserting an artificial root to take the place of a true tooth, your dentist will prepare the two teeth surrounding the area of your missing tooth and place a set of 3 or more teeth over top of the area, cementing them into place the same way as they would a typical crown.
The Pros and Cons of a Bridge
There are a few benefits to a dental bridge. They’re less expensive and the process doesn’t take as long. There’s also the added benefit of not having to undergo any kind of surgery to place the bridge.
However, a fixed bridge can come loose over time and fall out of your mouth. There’s a chance for decay to form underneath the anchor teeth, at which point your dentist will need to remove the bridge, clean out the decay, and make a new bridge for you to fit the anchor teeth’s new shape.
Bridge vs Implant: What Is Best for You?
At the end of the day, the right kind of restoration is up to you. The decision of a bridge vs implant is a personal one.
If you’re looking for a permanent fixture in your mouth that operates the same way as a real tooth and you’re not afraid to deal with a long process in getting there, a dental implant is perfect for you.
However, if you want to keep it simple and deal with whatever issues may arise down the road, consider a dental bridge.
If you’re interested in learning more about dental implants and want to talk to an expert, contact us today!