More and more patients have been choosing dental implants over traditional bridges as a superior replacement for missing teeth in recent years. Bridges don't address underlying bone loss that might need treatment with calcium supplements or medications, but they do serve a purpose in many areas of restorative dentistry. This brief guide explains how two common procedures can improve your smile and overall dental health.
Dental implants are considered by many to be one of today's most advanced restoration options. In many circumstances, they provide a superior alternative to dental bridges in addressing missing teeth. The following information compares and contrasts these two prevalent restorative procedures.
Comparing bridges to implants
As you may already know, dental bridges are used to replace one or more missing teeth by creating an artificial tooth-supported span that spans from one edge of the space to the other. In addition, it will need several anchor teeth on either end of the gap because they serve as natural anchors for the replacement teeth. The natural teeth must be healthy enough to support a bridge without damaging their health.
Dental implants offer a non-removable solution compared to traditional bridgework, which is cemented into a metal framework each time new teeth are needed. In addition, because they're essentially permanent, dental implants help prevent bone loss since the tooth-supported span is connected to your jawbone, which will encourage the natural regeneration of surrounding tissue. When this occurs over time, it leads to new bone growth on either side of the implant.
Implant bridges are more expensive than bridgework options because of their increased complexity and additional procedures that must be carried out during installation. However, you should also know that, unlike traditional dental bridges, many implant systems require no cementing or drilling into healthy teeth on either end of the gap – saving you from the potential complications associated with these processes. There are still individual cases in which old techniques are used for specific situations or goals.
Bridges are also made up of metal, which can cause additional wear to the opposing teeth. To make this situation even more complicated, there may be gaps in-between replacement teeth created by spaces left when adjacent teeth were removed. These spaces encourage the build-up of bacteria and plaque to accumulate, possibly leading to tooth decay or gum disease if not treated with fluoride treatments, flossing, brushing and other forms of oral hygiene care. And while surrounding natural teeth support bridges on either side of the gap, there is no other solution that's as efficient at stopping these oral health issues from developing since your jaw tissue doesn't support them.
Implant bridge alternatives
Suppose you're considering an implant bridge for a complex case including missing teeth in the front, central or back regions of your smile but are concerned about potential complications associated with traditional bridgework techniques. In that case, there are several alternatives available to consider. They include an affordable treatment option known as implant-supported dentures, which is used to replace missing teeth that aren't close enough together for a traditional dental bridge.
You may be wondering how this type of restoration compares to implants and traditional bridges when it comes to cost concerns. Many dentists consider implants to be more expensive than dental bridges because they require more time during the procedure's planning stage due to their complexity. Even so, when comparing long-term costs associated with both procedures over multiple years after installation, you'll find that dental implants are less expensive due to their increased longevity.