Tooth loss does not only cause difficulty chewing, but it also significantly affects your self-confidence. The two most common treatments for missing teeth that your dentist will recommend to you are dental bridges and dental implants. While both options effectively address the issue of missing teeth, they are technically very different. In order to make the best decision for your oral health, it is vital to know your options and understand how these dental procedures differ.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge uses one or more false teeth to fill the gap between adjacent teeth. A traditional bridge, also known as a porcelain fixed bridge, consists of a false tooth or teeth attached to crowns that are cemented onto existing neighboring teeth. These dental crowns hold the false tooth, or pontic, in place. In addition to porcelain, traditional bridges may also be made of metal or ceramic. Porcelain fixed bridges are preferred by many patients because they look like natural teeth.
A cantilever bridge is another common type of bridge that is used when there are only natural teeth on one side of the missing tooth. Regardless of the bridge type, your dentist will take an impression or a digital scan of the abutment teeth for the lab to make the components of your bridge.
Dental bridges can last five to fifteen years with good oral home care. A bridge is typically less expensive than an implant, but may not last as long and is usually harder to keep clean than an implant.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant consists of an artificial tooth that is secured by a titanium metal post. There are two steps to the procedure. First, the post is implanted. After a healing period of two to six months, new bone grows around the metal, securing it and fusing it to the jawbone. Once your dentist is confident that the post is firmly set in place, a crown is attached on top. Unlike bridges, an implant that is done properly is expected to be a permanent solution. Also, implants do not rely on the existence of surrounding teeth or place a burden on them.
When is a Dental Bridge Recommended Over an Implant?
When deciding between a bridge or an implant, your dentist will evaluate your health history and your unique needs. Your dentist may recommend a dental bridge procedure rather than an implant if the following is true for you:
- Your jawbone height is inadequate or your jawbone is too soft
- You have a chronic illness such as diabetes or leukemia, which can slow the healing process
- You smoke or chew tobacco
Most patients with healthy teeth and gums, minimal jaw bone loss, and good oral hygiene are great candidates for dental implant surgery.
Dental Bridges and Implants in Palm Bay, FL
With a simple procedure, you can achieve a beautiful and natural-looking smile. At Ultimate Smile Design, we offer dental bridges and implant procedures for patients with tooth loss. Please contact us for a consultation.