Two options for fixed tooth replacements are dental implants and dental bridges. Both are used to replace one or more missing teeth. Here, our Burlington dentists share the differences between both of these options to help you choose the one that is best for you.
Dental bridges are fixed dental appliances that actually "bridge" the spaces that missing teeth have left behind. You can use these restorations to replace a single missing tooth or several missing teeth. Since they are attached permanently to the teeth on both sides of the gap (not like dentures) only your dentist can remove them safely. Some people also call them "permanent partial dentures."
Taking Care of Dental Bridges
After getting your dental bridge applied, you can treat it as you would your natural teeth. If maintained properly with routine brushing, flossing, and dentist appointments, your bridge should last you many years.
A dental implant is a small titanium rod that is surgically implanted into the jaw bone to serve as an artificial tooth root. Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth. Titanium is a type of metal that has the ability to form bonds with natural bone, making it a secure and stable foundation for an artificial tooth. A dental crown (cap) is then placed on top of the implant to serve as the artificial tooth replacement.
When used as a combination, the implant and dental crown can offer a feel and appearance that is similar to a natural tooth.
Taking Care of Dental Implants
Similar to bridges, you are able to take care of your dental implants the same way you would your natural teeth. This consists of excellent flossing and brushing routines as well as regular appointments with your dentist.
Knowing Which Option is Right for You
Dental implants and dental bridges both have their advantages, and the best option for any given person will depend on that person's oral health needs as well as his or her financial situation.
The process for placing dental implants is much more invasive than applying dental bridges. But, often dental implants can feel and look more like natural teeth than dental bridges.
In addition, for the dental implant procedure to be successful, you must have a sufficient volume of jaw bone. If you don't have enough bone in your jaw, you may still be able to get an implant, but you would need to undergo a bone grafting procedure first to ensure that the implant could be supported. As a result, the implant process would take longer and be somewhat more invasive.
In the end, attending a consultation with your dentist is the best way to help you determine which tooth replacement option will suit you best.