Dental Implants vs. Bridges

Over time, an individual may begin to lose teeth due to aging. Another key reason for this embarrassing dental problem is a gum disease such as periodontitis, in which the enamel of the teeth recedes and teeth can become loose. Accidents can also result in the loss of a tooth. In any of these scenarios, a good option is to get a dental implant or bridge at your dentist's office. However, it is important to know the chief differences and benefits of each of these procedures so that you can determine which is more appropriate for you.

Dental Implants

A dental implant is exactly what it sounds like: a replacement for a tooth all the way to the root. Dental implants are permanent and can be designed so that they appear to match your natural teeth. They are durable and can withstand the natural everyday functions that a regular tooth can handle, as long as you properly care for them. Dental implants can make eating easier, improve your self-esteem, enable clearer speech, and boost your oral health.

Bridges

A bridge consists of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of a gap in the mouth. Essentially, it serves as a literal bridge between teeth so that there is no more gap showing a lack of teeth. They are also referred to as "false teeth" and are usually made from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or even plastic. Bridges are removable and supported by your natural teeth or even dental implants. They can improve your chewing and speaking functions, help to maintain a more natural shape in your face, restore your smile, enable you to bite in a normal position and prevent your natural teeth from drifting out of normal placement. There are three different types of dental bridges: traditional, cantilever, and Maryland bonded.

Making the Choice

Generally speaking, dental implants tend to better protect your natural teeth. They require less maintenance than a bridge, which will have to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. You can easily floss when you have dental implants; this is more difficult to do so when you have bridges. Dental bridges, however, will take less time to get them than implants. Your entire procedure at the dentist's office will take two or three visits. Of course, if you choose to get dental implants, you will have to undergo surgery. Bridges require no surgery.

If you prefer a dental solution that is permanent, then dental implants are the better option for you. They will require less maintenance and will last the duration of your life. In the long run, dental implants can also be less expensive than dental bridges due to the fact of their permanence, as bridges will have to be replaced.