If you are missing a tooth or two, there are a couple of restoration options available for you to choose from – dental implant and dental bridges. Choosing the right treatment is key to a confident smile so ask your dentist to assess your condition and recommend the best restoration treatment for you. Usually dental implants are the ideal solution but there are a few factors you need to consider, including if your tooth loss is recent or happened many years ago.
How They Work?
A dental implant is basically an artificial tooth root, which is typically made of titanium. It is anchored into the jawbone at the site of the missing tooth after which a protective cover screw is placed temporarily on the implant while it fuses with the jawbone. A crown is then attached to the implant and eventually becomes a stand-alone tooth, functioning and appearing just like the natural tooth that you have lost.
By contrast, a dental bridge is a pair of crowns that are installed onto your natural teeth at either side of the gap. These crowns are then used to create a bridge that holds the artificial tooth which then covers the gap. However this artificial tooth is not permanently fixed to the jaw.
Dental Implant: Pros and Cons
One of the primary benefits of dental implant is that it maintains jaw health. After you lose a tooth the supporting bone loses it strength and starts to fade away since there is no continuing bite stimulation. With dental implants, each bite will stimulate the surrounding bone, hence preserving bone level and density. This will have a positive impact on your oral health as well as the contours of your face as you age. The implants also look better and will function like a real tooth.
Another key benefit of a dental implant is that it does not affect the adjacent teeth. Unlike bridgework, dental implants do not decay and patients will be less likely develop gum disease with the implants in place.
One consideration is that you need to undergo a surgical procedure to place the implant, and allow for healing time.
Dental Bridge: Pros and Cons
Unlike dental implants, a dental bridge does not replace the tooth root. Instead it uses the teeth adjacent to the space of the missing tooth as supports. Crowns are placed on the adjacent teeth and a false tooth, or pontic, is supported by these crowns to close the gap. A surgical procedure is not required and this treatment is relatively quick, safe and easy. A standard bridgework can be completed within two dentist visits and is typically more economical than implants.
As the name implies, a dental bridge literally bridges the gap of the missing tooth. The bridge is anchored to the adjacent teeth and to do so these teeth are permanently filed down in order to place the crown as functional support. This process may weaken the adjacent teeth, making them vulnerable to decay.
Consult Your Dentist
The above guide explains the pros and cons of a dental bridge versus an implant restoration. However, these are general guidelines and you should consult your dentist to review all risks, benefits and alternatives to determine the best restoration treatment for you.
Dr Brendan Gin has a particular interest in crown, implant crown and bridgework and will assess your dental health before recommending the appropriate procedure for you. Call us at 6733 9882 or simply request an appointment here.