fitting family dental visits into a crazy schedule
Bridges Vs. Dental Implants: Which Should You Go For?
by Andre Daniels
When you lose one or more teeth to decay or an accident, you feel embarrassed to smile or even open your mouth around other people. Your appearance is marred, and your self-esteem becomes affected. As soon as you can, you rush to the dentist and beg him to do something – anything – to replace the missing teeth. But then he offers you a choice: a bridge or dental implants. And you have to weigh the pluses and minuses of each option, and then choose one over the other.
There are several factors to take into account when deciding which way to go:
Preservation of the jawbone:
Dental implants stimulate the bone area where teeth are missing, and prevent long-term bone loss.
When a bridge is used to connect two teeth, there is no pressure applied to the jaw bone. The bone eventually begins to shrink.
Structural changes to the teeth:
Dental implants are applied to the jaw independent of the other teeth in your mouth and do not have any effect on your healthy teeth.
The application of the bridge often requires the filing and reshaping of the healthy adjacent teeth. This is necessary in order to improve the support of the bridge structure.
Maintaining oral hygiene:
It is easy to clean dental implants and floss between them because each artificial tooth is positioned the way a natural tooth would be.
Bridges make it difficult to clean and floss between the teeth, making it a more tedious and time consuming process.
Implants are bonded to the jaw bone and become an integral part of it. The implants acts a tooth roots, and are made of titanium which will not erode or break.
Bridges are supported by the counter-pressure applied by the adjacent teeth, and last for only about ten years. If the supporting teeth become decayed, there is nothing to hold the bridge any more.
Modern technology makes it possible for implants to look just like natural teeth.
Bridges are less attractive, and the metal "wings" holding the bridge (in the case of resin-bonded bridges) to the adjacent teeth is often visible.
Dental implants are extremely expensive, but are a one-time investment because they last for a lifetime.
Bridges are relatively cheap but may cause complications or need to be replaced at some point, which will be an added expense.
While on all counts, dental implants are clearly the preferable option, you may choose to get a bridge if your finances are tight, or if you have a medical condition that rules out the surgery necessary for dental implants. The good news is that even if your dentist prepares bridges for your missing teeth, they can always be replaced by dental implants sometime in the future.