Missing or severely damaged teeth can make you feel insecure and affect your oral health, but there are plenty of solutions to fix this embarrassing problem and improve your smile. Two of the most common solutions dentists use are dental bridges and dental implants, but it can be tough to know which you should choose.
While both approaches fundamentally address the same issue, on a technical level they’re quite different. Here’s what you need to know.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is an artificial tooth that’s used to fill a gap from a missing tooth. Also known as a Pontic, the replacement tooth is held in place by a “bridge” that’s anchored by a crown to the teeth on either side of the gap.
What is a Dental Implant?
Few people are aware just how complicated the underlying structure of a tooth is. But when this structure, made up of bone, ligaments, and nerves, is removed, the area around it begins to deteriorate. Dental implants replace the original structure with a metal post, typically made of titanium. New bone growth encases the implanted metal and a crown is then affixed to the implant and sealed into place.
Important Differences Between Dental Bridges and Implants
Aside from technique, there are several pros and cons for each option to consider:
- An implant does not affect surrounding teeth, while a bridge requires shaping the adjacent teeth so crowns can be placed on them.
- Implants tend to last 10 to 15 years because they fuse with your jawbone. Bridges last up to 10 years, usually because the neighboring teeth remain susceptible to decay, cavities and gum disease.
- Bridges are a faster process while implants require surgery and a waiting period of up to six months while the bone fuses with the implant.
When Would You Need a Bridge vs. an Implant?
Because gum and bone have already receded, a bridge might be your best option if your tooth has been missing for a long time. That’s because your jaw might have shifted, making it more difficult to properly secure an implant. Implants are an ideal choice is you want the most natural looking replacement for your missing tooth that also helps maintain the jawbone.
Learn More About Your Options
The most important step you can take to ensure you find the right treatment for your missing tooth or teeth is talking with your dentist, who will carefully weigh all your personal considerations before making a recommendation.
Caven Dental Group will help you address any missing teeth issues and develop a treatment plan that’s tailored to you needs. Schedule an appointment with our Jacksonville office today to learn more about restoring your smile to its former beauty.