A missing tooth can be replaced by either a dental implant or partial denture. These tooth replacement options are common and have been popular for many years. Knowing their differences is important if you want to determine the one that would suit you the most. An oral surgeon may recommend either option based on your…
Dental Implants Versus Bridge to Replace a Missing Tooth
Dental implants and bridges are two of the options you get to choose from when you are missing a tooth. Both give you natural-looking replacements for missing teeth, but there are some key differences you should be aware of before picking one dental restoration over the other.
Understanding dental implants and bridges
A dental implant consists of two main parts: an implant that is placed in the patient's jawbone and a crown that is attached to the implant to serve as an artificial tooth. Bridges have a completely different design. They are made up of false teeth that are held in place by the teeth closest to the gap created by the missing tooth. These teeth are typically covered up with crowns to provide a more stable foundation.
The artificial teeth that come with either option can be color-matched to the patient's teeth. Implants are the more natural-looking option, though, since the false tooth is embedded in the patient's gums. The location of the missing teeth being replaced is one of the factors that can affect a patient's choice. For example, bridges are best used on back teeth where they are less visible since they are the less natural-looking option.
Advantages of implants over bridges
Implants are widely viewed as the preferred way to replace a lost tooth. These devices come with certain advantages that those who opt for bridges do not get to enjoy. These include:
- Keep bone tissue healthy by keeping it properly stimulated. Bridges do not have this effect since they do not replace the lost tooth's roots
- Provide a permanent solution that lasts a lifetime
- Do not hinder dental hygiene or require any special maintenance. Bridges, on the other hand, can make tasks like flossing quite difficult
Likewise, there are a few reasons why one might opt for bridges over implants. They include:
- Faster option. Patients might have to wait up to six months for the implant installation process to be complete, while it only takes a couple of dental visits within a few weeks to be fitted with customized bridges
- Bridges are the more affordable option
- The installation of bridges does not require oral surgery, making it a great option for those with health issues that make them poor candidates for surgery
The health issues associated with missing teeth
Missing teeth should always be replaced, since not doing so leaves the patient vulnerable to a variety of health issues. For starters, the remaining teeth move out of their proper alignment in an attempt to close the space made by the lost tooth. Teeth becoming misaligned makes them harder to clean, making the patient more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. Either issue can eventually lead to the loss of more teeth and other health issues, all because they failed to replace their missing tooth.
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