Millions of Americans are choosing dental implants to support their dental restorations. The American College of Prosthodontics says that prosthodontic labs make about 2.3 million implant-supported crowns every year. Although a single crown restoration remains the most common type of implant-supported procedure, dental implants are becoming a go-to option for replacing multiple teeth as well.Many…
How to Choose Between Dental Implants and Bridges
Looking for information on dental implants? Having missing teeth negatively impacts your smile and can cause problems when it comes to eating and speaking. Fortunately, there are a few options to choose from when it comes to replacing your teeth. Two of the most popular options are dental implants and dental bridges.
Even though both procedures achieve the same result, you should know more about both to help you make the right choice when it comes to replacing your missing teeth.
Choosing between dental implants and bridges
What are dental implants?
Dental implant surgery is a procedure that is used to replace missing teeth by fusing metal posts that act as tooth roots into your jaw bone and then screwing artificial teeth to the metal post. The artificial teeth used for dental implants are usually made from porcelain because it looks like your natural teeth and is very durable.
What are dental bridges?
Dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth by attaching dental crowns on the natural teeth on either side of the gap left by missing teeth, anchoring the artificial tooth attached to them. The artificial teeth used in dental bridges can be made from porcelain, gold, alloys or a combination of the materials.
How do I know which dental procedure is right for me?
Since the procedure involves fusing a metal post to your jaw bones and will also involve cutting into your gums, your dentist has to make sure you are an ideal candidate for the procedure. People with gum disease and smokers are not considered good candidates for dental implants because gum disease and tobacco use can cause infection, which slows down the healing process and prevents the metal post from fusing properly to your bone.
Another factor you have to consider when looking at your restorative options is where the missing tooth is. If the tooth is in the back of your mouth, your dentist will likely recommend using a dental bridge to fix it because your molars and premolars provide a steadier base for the dental bridge, holding the artificial tooth in place. If the missing tooth is in the front of your mouth, a dental implant will be recommended because the artificial tooth can be color matched to your real teeth, making it look natural.
Durability is another factor that needs to be considered. Dental bridges typically last for 10 years but they can last for up to 15 years with proper care. Dental implants can last up to a lifetime, which saves you money in the long run because you do not have to have them replaced like you would with bridges.
If convenience is important to you, dental bridges have the edge because the procedure is usually completed in two trips to the dentist. Dental implants take much longer because your dentist has to wait until the titanium post is firmly fused to your jawbone and your gum tissues are fully healed, which takes a few months.
The bottom line
Dental implants and bridges are very popular when it comes to replacing missing teeth. If you are considering either option, talk to your dentist to determine which procedure is right for you.
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