Torn between a dental bridge and an implant? It can often feel like a dental bridge vs implant kind of situation – you just don’t know which to choose.
Here to help you make the choice, we’ve put together this guide to choosing the right missing tooth treatment for you.
Losing teeth can sometimes be unavoidable, happening for many reasons, from dental decay to a simple accident or injury. No matter the reason, missing teeth can have a serious impact on your life.
Not only will a missing tooth change your appearance, it can also impact your self-confidence, speech, the way you eat and the way you live your life. Missing teeth can also lead to serious dental problems, including bone loss.
With such a major impact on your life, it’s important that you choose the treatment plan that works best for you.
Why choose a dental bridge?
Dental bridges are false teeth that are fixed onto the teeth on either side of the missing ones to bridge the gap in your mouth. As a semi-permanent solution, dental bridges are a quick way to give the appearance of a fuller smile while helping support your eating and speech.
Dental bridges come in different types of materials, including metal alloys. Although these are the cheapest option, they stand out and don’t look natural in your mouth.
For a more natural appearance, dental bridges can be made from more expensive porcelain or ceramic, which imitate the look of normal teeth. There’s also a possibility to combine the porcelain or ceramic bridges with a metal brace – although this option isn’t as strong and will lose its appearance over time.
There are three main types of dental bridges:
- Fixed/traditional bridge. As the most common type of dental bridge, the fixed bridge involves crowns fixed to healthy teeth on either side of the gap, with pontics (artificial teeth) held in place in the middle. For front teeth, you may need two crowns on either side to help support the biting pressure.
- Cantilever bridge. This type of bridge isn’t commonly used anymore – but was for when there are adjacent teeth on one side of the gap. So, if there’s only one natural tooth next to the gap – a bridge can still be secured – even if it’s not as strong as a traditional bridge.
- Maryland bonded bridges. Great for when only one tooth needs to be replaced, this bridges bonds metal or porcelain ‘wings’ to the neighbouring teeth on either side of the gap, meaning you don’t need to fit crowns.
Unless you have Maryland bonded bridges, the healthy teeth in your mouth must be filed down before crowns can be fitted. In some cases, these teeth will also require root canal treatment.
The main drawback of dental bridges is that two healthy teeth will be damaged in the process. If you decide you don’t like the dental bridge, this damage can’t be reversed and the teeth will need crowns fitted in place.
However, dental bridges can be a quick and easy way to fix your missing teeth, making it easier to eat, speak and give you back your smile.
Why choose a dental implant?
Unlike dental bridges, implants are a permanent fix that doesn’t harm any other healthy teeth in your mouth.
Dental implants are the new standard of care for tooth replacement. They bond with healthy bone and provide permanent support for crowns and dentures. Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth and can last a lifetime.
Made from a titanium screw with a tooth crown on top, the implants are attached to your jawbone to create a natural fix that will if treated properly, last a lifetime. With a custom-made crown, the implants are built to exactly suit your mouth, making them virtually undetectable.
Dental implants are also the only treatment that will prevent bone loss – making them the standard for tooth replacement from many leading dental organisations.
Because dental implants are inserted into your jawbone, they stimulate the chewing action which is needed to keep your bones strong. Without this action, the bone will begin to disappear, changing the shape of your mouth, the way you eat and speak and even causing your face to sink in and make you look prematurely aged.
With same-day procedures, dental implants can be surgically inserted into your jawbone right away with a temporary crown to wear. After this procedure, they need between eight weeks and six months to heal and allow the bone to grow around the implant, while your custom-made crown is made to exact size, shape, and colour that you want.
Although the procedure is longer than dental bridges, dental implants look natural, prevent bone loss, let you eat and speak as normal and are the perfect option to achieve a smile you want to share with the world.
Dental Bridge vs Implant.
Dental bridges are a quick and easy fix for missing teeth. Unfortunately, bridges can damage healthy surrounding teeth in your mouth and do not prevent bone loss, which could cause more problems in later life.
Alternatively, dental implants are a permeant solution that will last a lifetime. Completely undetectable, implants are custom made to your mouth and the only treatment to prevent bone loss, allowing you to live your life as normal.
Ultimately, your dentist will be able to discuss the options with you, finding the ideal option based on your unique circumstances.
Suffering from missing teeth? Book a consultation to find the right option you need to achieve your perfect smile.