If you are deliberating the question of tooth implant vs bridge it helps to understand the benefits of each tooth replacement before committing.
While missing teeth presented a myriad of problems many years ago, advances in modern dentistry mean that we have a number of solutions to address the potential problem of infection. The answer to the question of tooth implant vs bridge depends very much on your personal circumstances. Let’s take a closer look at both options
What Is A Tooth Bridge?
A tooth bridge consists of an artificial tooth that is flanked by two or more crowns. The crowns fit over your natural teeth that are adjacent to the gap, and allow the artificial tooth to fill the gap that is left behind.
One of the biggest advantages of dental bridges is their cost-effectiveness over other tooth replacements. The other major advantage is that bone grafting doesn’t come into play in order to fit them.
When it comes to disadvantages, the teeth on either side of the gap will need to be filed down, to make space for the bridge. This can weaken the teeth and make them more prone to decay. Because a tooth bridge does not address tooth loss at the root, and only above the gum line, patients who wear bridges may experience bone loss.
What Is A Tooth Implant?
Your tooth is much more than the white surface area you see when you brush. It actually consists of a system of ligaments, nerves, roots and bone and it is the part of the tooth that is under your gum that a tooth implant replaces. A tooth implant is a metal post or screw, which is usually made out of titanium. The implant is embedded into your jaw surgically and, over time, new bone tissue should grow around it, as your body integrates it into your jaw. When your dentist is satisfied that the implant is secured through the process of osseointegration, a crown will be placed on top.
How Can A Tooth Implant Benefit You?
Probably the biggest benefit to dental implants is that they promote bone healing and growth below the gum line. They also place the rest of your teeth under less strain.
When it comes to disadvantages, dental implants are a lengthy process that need a few months in order to stabilise. They also require you to have a certain amount of bone for osseointegration or a bone graft. Not everyone will qualify for dental implants however. A suitable candidate needs to have healthy gums and teeth and not have any unmanaged chronic disease. Dental implants are also typically not recommended for people who smoke.
The cost factor can also be a barrier for some people and because of the capital outlay required, some patients opt for a bridge which is a more affordable tooth replacement.
So What’s Better: A Tooth Implant Or Bridge?
Whether you have an implant or a bridge will depend on your circumstances. If you are not a candidate for implants a dental bridge is preferable over not replacing your missing teeth.
In some circumstances however, it is possible to combine both tooth replacements. An example would be multiple missing teeth in a row, using one or two tooth implants and connecting them with a bridge. Someone missing most of their teeth may not have the bone density or budget to accommodate dental implants and may benefit more from a combination of bridgework and tooth implants.
Have more questions about tooth implant vs bridge? We’d love to hear from you. Contact our practice today to speak to a professional: (02) 9158 6328.