If you need to replace missing teeth you are probably considering the pros and cons of tooth implant vs bridge. While both options have been used for decades to help people bite, chew and speak clearly, tooth implants and bridges have very different pros and cons.
What Is A Tooth Bridge?
Favoured by many patients around the world because of its cost-effectiveness a tooth bridge addresses the aesthetics of missing teeth. bridgework literally closes the gaps left behind by missing teeth by using the teeth on either side of the gap as support structures.
These supporting teeth are filed down so that crown can be placed over them. An artificial tooth, also called a pontic is placed between the crowns, and falls into place when the bridge is cemented down.
What Are The Benefits Of A Tooth Bridge?
If you have lost a significant amount of bone and would require a bone graft before you could be eligible for dental implants, a bridge is an effective solution. If the cost factor is your biggest driver, you will be pleased to know that a bridge is cheaper than tooth implants.
What Are The Drawbacks Of A Bridge?
Bridgework requires your adjacent or supporting teeth to be worn down so that your dentist can make space in your mouth to fit the bridge. This weakens your teeth and can make them more prone to dental decay.
Because the bridge sits on top of the gum it can cause irritation as you get use to it. The area between the top of the gum and the bottom of the bridge can also harbour bacteria and develop an infection without proper dental hygiene.
As the bridge sits above the gum it does not stimulate any new bone growth in the jaw. Over time this can lead to further bone loss and later to further tooth loss if it is not managed.
What Is A Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a metal post or screw that is surgically embedded into the jaw. It is designed to replace the roots of your missing tooth and match your natural teeth as much as possible. Once the implant has been embedded an abutment or extension will be fitted, in order to connect the implant to your crown. Your dentist will create a crown that looks, feels and functions like your natural teeth.
What Are The Benefits Of Implants?
Dental implants are the closest match to your natural teeth. Because they are embedded into your jaw they fuse with your bone, essentially becoming a part of your body and a permanent fixture that can’t be removed or move around. They promote bone growth, while other tooth replacements can accelerate bone loss.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Dental Implants?
For most people the cost of dental implants is the biggest barrier to the treatment. They really are a long term dental investment and most health insurers will not cover the procedure, which means that patients need to cover the costs out-of-pocket. Some insurers are evolving and may allow you to list implants as an exclusion, but this may be subject to a waiting period.
The other drawback to dental implant surgery is the waiting period required for the process to complete. This can only really go as fast as your body is capable of healing itself because the healing period is what determines whether the surgery is successful or not.
After each stage of the dental implant procedure your jaw will need to be given time to heal. In reality this can take 9 to 12 months to complete fully. This means it is highly unlikely you will have your dental implants placed quickly. If you need a fast replacement bridgework or temporary dentures will probably be recommended to you.
Because of the higher cost and the longer time needed for implants, a dental bridge is still considered the best choice for many patients. To find out more call our practice today: (02) 8776 3232