Because dental technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last 30 years, patients with missing or irreparably damaged teeth now have several options available for tooth replacement. Dental bridges are the long- established method of replacing lost teeth. Dental implants are the newer method that has become more widely performed in recent years.
What’s the difference between a dental bridge vs. implant? Which treatment option is right for you? Most dentists including Dr. Mark Sowell of Sensational Smiles in Plano, TX prefers implants due to their strength, longevity and ease of care. However, you and your dentist need consider several factors, including if your tooth loss is recent or happened years ago.
Practical Reasons for Both
In years past, a dental bridge was usually the only choice available choice. However, a bridge affects more than just the missing tooth. When installing a dental bridge, preparing the adjacent teeth on either side of the gap by removing the enamel in order to attach the bridge to them is necessary. With dental implants, Dr. Sowell embeds the replacement tooth directly into the jawbone resulting in a tooth that is stronger and permanent.
Nonetheless, a dental bridge may be the right option for you if the adjacent teeth already have large fillings and need crowns or caps in the future. If the tooth or teeth were lost a long time ago, the gum and bone tissues will have receded and bone grafts will be necessary before placement. The advantages and disadvantages to both procedures can ultimately be discussed with Dr. Sowell.
Your Oral Care Routine
With an implant, your ability to perform oral hygiene and keep your mouth clean and healthy will be easier than with a bridge. Dental bridges involve at least three crowns connected together to fill the space of the missing tooth which can make brushing and flossing difficult, so it is important to be when cleaning. Flossing will require the floss to be threaded under the false tooth to prevent gum disease from setting in, making the process more complicated. You can brush and floss around an implant just like you would your natural teeth, making oral hygiene much easier and more effective.
Dental implants are more durable than bridges, potentially lasting a lifetime. The titanium cylinder or post that serves as the root is embedded into the jawbone naturally fuses with your jawbone and is mostly immune to decay because it is made of such strong material. If a dental implant is properly cared for, it can last a lifetime with only the crown — the false tooth mounted on top — needing to be replaced.
Crowns usually need to be replaced every 15-20 years due to normal wear and tear, but can last longer with proper care, while the average lifespan of a dental bridge is approximately 10 years. After this, the entire bridge will need to be replaced. The abutment teeth under the crowns will continue to be susceptible to decay and gum disease because a portion of your natural tooth remains alive beneath.
The cost of the dental bridge is cheaper initially, but, as it will need to be replaced at some point in the future, it could cost your more in the long run. Implants – from preparation to final placement – may seem more expensive, but can actually save you money over time. Fortunately, many dental insurance providers now pay for a portion of or all of the steps of the implant process.
Dental Implants in Plano, TX
Both options are better than living with being embarrassed and self-conscious about your smile or having difficulty chewing. Bridges are an older, established procedure. However, dental implants have become widely available in recent years are the preferred method of treatment for missing teeth due to their ease of care and long lifespan.
If you are considering dental implants, you need to see the best implant dentist possible. Dr. Sowell of Sensational Smiles in Plano is a skilled professional with over 25 years in practice. For a consultation with Dr. Sowell about dental implants or any other dental concern, please call (972) 382-6855 or schedule a complimentary consultation online today!