Dental implants are truly a marvel of modern dentistry. You can replace a lost tooth with an almost identical copy. It looks natural. It functions like a natural tooth. And you care for it just like a natural tooth.
Dental bridges, on the other hand, are an older technology. But in some ways they can be just as good as dental implants. And in some situations, they might be the right choice for replacing your tooth.
Short-Term Benefits Are Comparable
When properly placed, dental bridges can be about as good as dental implants over the short term. A dental bridge isn’t like a removable denture. The bridge is bonded to your natural teeth. This means that you can bite and chew normally. You don’t have to remove the bridge for cleaning. You just brush and floss, taking care to clean under the bridge.
Modern dental bridges can look perfectly natural, too. The bridge doesn’t have any visible wires or connections between the supporting crowns and the replacement tooth. When it’s first placed it would take very close inspection to tell that a dental bridge is anything other than a natural tooth.
Dental Implants Have More Long-Term benefits
However, over the long-term, dental implants show their benefits. Because dental implants stimulate the jawbone and gums, they can help maintain a healthy volume of bone and gums. But dental bridges aren’t attached directly to the jawbone, so the bone can atrophy under the bridge. Over time, this can lead to a gap between the bridge and the gums, which can look unattractive.
Dental implants also last much longer than bridges. Dental bridges can be expected to last 10-15 years. The crown on top of a dental implant may last that long, or it may last twice that long. The implant itself may last a lifetime (50+ years) with proper care.
Dental Bridges Are Sometimes Best
Why would someone choose a dental bridge over an implant? Some people might not like the idea of dental implant surgery. Dental bridges are placed using a more conventional dental procedure, not surgery.
Other times, a person might not have enough bone to support an implant, or they might have risk factors that can lead to implant failure. This might make a dental bridge a safer choice.
And in some cases, the teeth next to the gap might need to be crowned anyway. In that case, it might make a dental bridge the smarter choice than a dental implant and two crowns.
What’s Best for You?
At Oasis Dental Arts, Scripps Ranch dentist Dr. Ramin Goshtasbi ( “Dr. G”) carefully evaluates each patient’s circumstances to recommend the treatment that will best achieve their goals of a healthy, beautiful smile, while respecting limitations like budget, time, and concern about certain procedures.
If you want to learn more about these two procedures and find which one is the best to replace your lost tooth, please call today for an appointment with Dr. Goshtasbi at Oasis Dental Arts.