Dental Implants vs. Bridges

When you think of Grandma, quite often a picture of her teeth in a glass of water humorously comes to mind.  This is natural.  For the majority of the population, bridges were the main method of restoring teeth- a tried and true technique for compensating for a lost tooth by dental crowns on bridges anchored to adjacent teeth.

Now, with modern technology, dental implants are available as an option for many more people. Here, a titanium screw type device, which acts similarly to roots of teeth, is inserted into the jawbone where the missing tooth originally resided.  When healing has taken place (about 2-3 months), a small tooth (abutment) is adhered to that device. A crown, which is made to look like a tooth, is attached over the abutment.  Now, you have what appears to be a tooth, replacing the missed one.  It has both the function, natural look and feel of the original.

Caring for the implant is the same as for all natural teeth including brushing and flossing to prevent tartar and plaque buildup as well as decay or gingivitis surrounding the implant.

Bridges are not as long lasting or durable for loss of teeth.  Since the crown, representing the lost tooth and now occupying its space, is connected to surrounding teeth, any problems that occur with these adjacent teeth will negate the function and placement of the bridge.  It will need to be devised again and replaced.  Also with a shift in the occlusion (bite) or malocclusion (bite which does not meet properly between top and bottom sets of teeth), breakage of the bridge or slight fractures is apt to occur.

Bone and gingival complications can occur with improper care of bridges. It is not unlikely (especially with a permanent bridge) for food particles and debris to lodge between the device and adjacent teeth. Without fastidious flossing technique application, this particulate matter will fester, creating decay and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)

There is a significant time difference between dental implants and bridges due to the nature of reconstruction and insertion of each.  The bridge can be implemented for a patient in a much shorter time, considering that with an implant, the operative site must take 2-3 months healing before the second stage of the procedure can be performed.

Yet, in the long term, bridges will need to be replaced and redesigned, making up for additional time that was saved over implants.

Thus, dental implants, which give more permanence to a gap from lost teeth, have advantages over bridges, for those people that are candidates.

The natural look and feel of your implants makes you feel that you have grown another set of teeth.