Whether you have lost one tooth or several, deciding on what to do about it can be a daunting task. Ultimately, choosing between a bridge or an implant depends on your unique situation. Factors that may come into play include your finances, your health, your goals for the future, and your age.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant consists of a post made of titanium, a biocompatible metal. It is surgically placed into the jawbone to mimic a natural tooth root. The titanium post must then be left alone for a period of several months to ensure that the jawbone is fully healed and that the titanium implant sturdily fixed within the jaw. After the healing period, an abutment (the connector between the titanium post and the replacement tooth) is placed onto the post. A custom dental crown is fashioned to fit perfectly with the rest of your teeth and fastened to the abutment. After the crown is placed, your implant procedure is complete.
What are the pros and cons of dental implants?
- Maintenance: Maintenance is one of the main reasons many people are drawn to dental implants over installing a bridge. If your implants are performed with advanced techniques, the replacement tooth could last for the rest of your life.
- Appearance: Dental implants look like your natural teeth. They function like natural teeth, with no restrictions on what you can eat or chew.
- Bone Loss Prevention: A missing tooth or several missing teeth can cause a deterioration in the jawbone. This is because the jawbone responds to the lack of stress by thinning. Implants prevent jawbone loss.
- Adjacent Teeth Are Preserved: One of the significant perks of dental implants is that adjacent teeth do not have to be altered, with some of your natural tooth structure removed to support a bridge.
- Surgery: As implants are placed in the jawbone, a surgical procedure is necessary. As with any surgery, there are certain risks, although they are rare.
- Timeline: One of the cons to implants is they do take substantially longer than a bridge and require more than one office visit over several months.
- Cost: The cost will vary widely, depending upon the health of your jawbone and how many teeth you have lost; however, it will still be substantially more than a bridge and implants are typically not covered by insurance.
What are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges are a fixed restoration that is used to replace one or more missing teeth. The bridge is supported by your healthy adjoining teeth, requiring them to be crowned and used as anchors for the replacement tooth.
Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges
- Non-surgical: Bridges do not require surgery, which means they carry less risk and need a far less complicated procedure than implants.
- Speed: Dental bridges take only a few weeks from beginning to end, whereas dental implants can take several months.
- Price: Bridges are more affordable than implants, and that is one of the main reasons why many consider bridges over implants.
- Aesthetics: Bridges are not as aesthetically pleasing as implants and cannot mimic the entirely natural look of a dental implant.
- Maintenance: Bridges will require replacement over time.
- Damage to Adjacent Teeth: To place a bridge, your adjacent teeth must be altered. This includes the loss of natural tooth structure.
What should you choose – an implant or a bridge?
Ultimately, your choice will depend upon what you envision for yourself. Whether you choose to have a dental implant or a crown, your tooth restoration should be performed by a highly-skilled cosmetic dentist. At Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, we are proud to be recognized as being among the most talented cosmetic dentists practicing in the USA.
Choosing the right doctor can save you years of stress and additional dental work in the future. Contact us today for a free consultation regarding your dental implant or dental bridge procedure. We can discuss your options and offer professional guidance to help you make an educated decision.