A missing tooth can cause problems with eating and function, and can also lead to issues with tooth alignment. Your smile may also be negatively impacted by a missing tooth. Replacing any missing teeth you may have is important for your dental hygiene and personal health. Before your dentist can address the problem, you’ll have to decide whether to place a bridge or an implant. Here’s what you need to know about these two options.
What’s a Bridge?
A dental bridge is an artificial tooth that’s held in place with two crowns on the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. The crowns are cemented into place. The color of the crowns are matched to the color of the surrounding teeth, so they’re designed not to stand out.
Bridges are a popular option because they’re affordable, effective, and safe. Most people have bridges placed over the course of two visits to the dentist. During the first visit, the teeth are prepared for the crowns and a 3D scan is taken and sent to the lab. The Dental Lab fabricates a porcelain (or gold) bridge over the course of 7days. At this appointment, the patient will go home with a temporary trial bridge.
Compared to an implant, a bridge does not last as long, nor is it as secure. In fact, most bridges only last about 8 to 10 years before they need to be replaced. Bridges can also be hard on the teeth holding them in place. Tooth decay can result if the bridge isn’t properly maintained by daily brushing and flossing!
What’s an Implant?
An implant is an artificial tooth held in place by a titanium post that is inserted into the jaw. Implants are very similar to natural teeth and do not stand out as being artificial in any way.
Properly installed, dental implants are as secure as they could be. They also support good jaw health, and do not negatively impact the health of the teeth around them.
Implants cost more than bridges (although there is less and less difference as implants become more common), and the placement of the implant is often done in one visit. Implants are fairly routine dental surgery at this time and the recovery can be fairly easy and straight forward. The implant needs 4-6 months to heal before the crown can be placed and during that time a temporary bridge can be used to hold the space of the missing tooth.
Which One is Right For You?
Every patient is different, so what works for you may not work for someone else. A bridge is a good option for you if you have a limited budget and you’re less concerned about the appearance of your artificial tooth, and the two teeth on either side of your missing tooth are broken down and in need of crowns.
An implant is a good option for you if your missing tooth is closer to the front teeth, and the teeth on either side of your missing tooth do not major dental treatment, or you are seeking a more long term solution for a missing tooth. Ultimately, it is your dentist who must help you understand the differences between these two procedures, and which one is best for you.
Contact Dentistry At the Grove
Are you missing a tooth? Don’t live with a gap between your teeth. At Dentistry at the Grove, we’ll happily help you decide between dental implants and bridges. We can help you restore your mouth to full dental health. Call today to make an appointment with our talented dentist, Dr. Niromi Fernando and her team.