Dental science has made significant advances in the last 30 years. Patients who are missing teeth or have damaged or broken teeth now have several great options for smile restoration available. Dental bridges are the more traditional method of replacing missing and damaged teeth. However, dental implants are increasing in popularity as their availability and success rate increase.
What’s the difference between these two treatments and which option would be best for your smile? Most dental practices including AH Smiles of Arlington Heights, IL prefer dental implants due to their strength, longevity and ease of care. However, a number of factors need to be taken into consideration, especially if your tooth loss happened recently or years ago.
Practical Reasons for Both
In the past, a bridge was really the only viable choice for replacing a single tooth. However, a bridge involves more than just the missing tooth as the neighboring teeth on either side of the gap need to be prepared to support the bridge by removing most of the enamel. Once this happens, they are crowned with an empty crown attached in between, replacing the missing tooth to restore your smile.
Your AH Smiles dentist embeds the replacement implant tooth directly into the jaw bone resulting in a tooth that is stronger and permanent. However, a dental bridge may be more appropriate if the neighboring teeth have significant decay, already have large fillings or will need crowns or caps in the future.
If the tooth or teeth were lost a long time ago, the gum and bone tissue will have eroded and bone graft procedures — which require additional time and cost — will be necessary before placement. The advantages and disadvantages of both bridges and dental implants can be discussed with your AH Smiles dentist.
Your Oral Care Routine
Your oral hygiene regimen will be easier with an implant than with a bridge. Dental bridges are cemented in the mouth, and are constructed of at least three crowns joined together to fill the space of the missing tooth. This design can make brushing and flossing more challenging, so it is important to be thorough when cleaning your teeth when you have a bridge.
Flossing, in particular, will require more work as the floss will need to be threaded under the crown to clear away plaque and prevent gum disease from setting in. In contrast, implants replace teeth individually without attaching to the adjacent teeth. You can brush and floss around an implant just like you would a natural tooth, making oral hygiene much simpler and more effective.
Dental implants are more durable than bridges, providing a restoration that can last a lifetime. The titanium cylinder or implant screw that is embedded into the jawbone bonds with your jawbone naturally. And, because it’s comprised of such strong material, the implant screw is resistant to decay. However, you must still thoroughly care for your gums and surrounding teeth or your implant may still fail.
On the other hand, the average life of a dental bridge is approximately 10 years and, at that point, the entire bridge will need to be replaced. Also, because a portion of your natural living tooth remains beneath it, the remaining tooth structures will continue to be prone to decay and gum disease.
The cost of the dental bridge is less expensive initially, but it will need to be replaced at some point in the future, which will cost more money. Implants – from preparation to final placement – may be more expensive up front, but can actually save you money over time, because only the crown may need periodic replacement of the implant crown. What’s more, this part of the procedure may even be covered by your dental insurance.
Dental Implants in Arlington Heights, IL
Both options are better than being timid about smiling because you’re self-conscious or having difficulty chewing properly. Although bridges are an older procedure, dental implants have become more common and successful over the years and are the preferred method of replacement for missing teeth due to their durability and ease of care.
If you are considering dental implants, you will want to see the best implant dentist possible. AH Smiles of Arlington Heights, IL is a respected practice with years of experience restoring smiles. For a consultation with a skilled and professional dentist at AH Smiles about dental implants or any other dental concern, please call (847) 230-9703 or schedule a consultation online today!