When you’re missing a tooth, you can either opt for a dental implant or bridgework. Although dentures are technically an option, the removable appliance is reserved for those who’re missing more than just a few teeth.
Having said that, if you know or someone you know is deciding whether to get a dental implant or a dental bridge, below are a few factors to consider that may help.
The Difference Between Implants and Bridgework
With dental implants, dentists first place a small titanium cylinder in the jawbone at the site of the missing tooth. Over a few months, the cylinder bonds with the bone tissue, creating an artificial root. An abutment is then placed on top, and later on, the artificial tooth.
With dental bridges, crowns are first installed onto the natural teeth on either side of the gap. The said crowns are then used to create a bridge – hence the name – that will help hold the artificial tooth in place. While the procedure involves covering the gap, it’s worth taking note that the artificial tooth is not actually fixed to the jaw.
The Argument For Dental Implants
The best thing about dental implants is that the procedure allows the jaw bones to remain strong and healthy. This has a huge positive impact on both your oral health and the shape of your face. Aesthetically, dental implants are also considered a lot better looking and they’re able to mimic the feel and function of real teeth much better. Lastly, dental implants are made to last, having an average lifespan of 25 years.
The Case For Dental Bridges
Lots of people choose dental bridges because the procedure is relatively easy and safe. Although most cases require two visits, it’s not unusual for dentists to finish installing bridgework in a single visit. That’s a whole lot less compared to the three or more visits required for dental implants. Lastly, dental bridges are a lot cheaper compared to dental implants.
So, Which Is Which?
At first glance, dental implants certainly look like the more appealing option. But, it’s important to remember that they’re also much more expensive. Plus, the process requires multi-stage surgery and can sometimes cause complications. Healing takes much longer as well, which only increases the risk for further complications.
Meanwhile, bridgework can lead to the re-positioning of the bone tissue below the crown, creating instability and severely shortening its lifespan. As a result, most crowns need to be replaced after 7 to 10 years. Some are replaced even earlier. The process has also been shown to weaken the adjacent teeth, making them more vulnerable to tooth decay.
So, which one of the two procedures is better? It’s hard to say. Truth be told, it mainly depends on what your dentist recommends. Cost alone isn’t really that big of a deciding factor as well. Although, it’s worth mentioning that dental implants could end up being cheaper in the long run since they’re more durable and do not need replacement as often. Plus, most dentists offer flexible payment plans for implant treatment, making it easier for patients to shoulder the cost.
Regardless, it’s best that you discuss extensively with Dr. James Yankowskas the different pros and cons of each procedure to help you make a decision. Do it as soon as you can though, as leaving a missing tooth untreated for a long time can cause even worse damage to your teeth and gums.
Call Dr. Yankowskas in Tyngsboro, MA today at 978-649-7773 or visit his website at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.