Dental technology has made great strides in the last 30 years and patients with missing or damaged teeth now have several highly effective treatment options available to them. Among them two of the most popular are dental bridges and dental implants. While dental bridges are the more established and therefore more widely available and less expensive method of replacing missing teeth and restoring your smile, dental implants are rapidly gaining on them in popularity.
So, when you’re deciding dental implants vs. dental bridges, which is best?
Most dentists including Dr. Durning Moore of Charlotte Center for Complete Dentistry in Charlotte, NC prefer implants due to their strength, longevity and ease of care. However, numerous factors need to be considered, including if your tooth loss is recent or happened years ago.
Practical Reasons for Both
Until about 20 to 25 years ago, dental bridges were the only option for restoring your smile with minimal disruption to your surrounding teeth. Bridges involve more than simply the missing tooth, as the teeth on either side of the gap must be ground down to serve as an abutment for the bridge. With dental implants, the replacement tooth is embedded directly into the jawbone without the need for preparing the surrounding teeth.
However, a dental bridge may be the best option if these adjacent teeth will need crowns or caps in the future and wouldn’t be negatively affected by the required preparation. If the tooth loss happened a long time ago, the gum tissue may have already receded too far to allow for a successful implant. Some patients benefit from bone graft treatment to strengthen the jaw bone. Ultimately, the advantages and disadvantages of both treatments should be addressed with your dentist to evaluate your individual case.
Your Oral Care Routine: Dental Implants vs. Dental Bridges
Dental bridges are cemented in the mouth and involve at least three crowns connected together, depending on how many teeth are missing. The nature of this design creates challenges when brushing and flossing, because you must clean underneath the false tooth. Oral bacteria can still grow beneath the bridge, and if left untreated can lead to destructive gum disease.
Dental implants, on the other hand, are cleaned just like your natural teeth. Simply brush and floss between your teeth and implant and you’re ready for the day. Of course, both treatments should still be paired with your regular dental visits and X-rays.
Dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care. The metal implant embedded into the jawbone is designed to naturally fuse with the bone tissue, creating a stable and permanent addition to your smile. Dental bridges will need to be replaced after about 10 years, and may wear on the natural teeth underneath, leading to further treatment.
Dental Implants vs. Dental Bridges Cost Comparison
Bridges cost less initially, but they will eventually need to be replaced. Implants are more expensive at the beginning, but due to their durability, they can save you money over time. Some dental insurance providers will pay for a portion or all of the steps involved in the implant process.
Implant treatment takes time, and you may be able to budget the cost in increments. The implant needs to heal for a few weeks before your permanent crown can be placed, allowing patients to prepare for the final restoration cost.
Dental Implants in Charlotte, NC
Both dental implants and dental bridges are effective ways to restore your smile, and there are several factors to consider when looking for tooth replacement. It’s important to consult with a dentist you trust to help you make the best decision for your oral health. Schedule online with Dr. Moore or call our highly trained team at (704) 275-5323 today.