Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
Whether you are missing teeth because of a mishap or the fact that your dentist says some of the real teeth cannot be salvaged, it's time to look at replacement options. Two alternatives that the dentist is likely to mention are dental bridges and implants. Which one is right for you? Here is some information that will help you make the best choice.
Defining Dental Bridges and Dental Implants
So what is a dental bridge? It’s a device made to fill in gaps left when teeth are removed or missing. A bridge may be constructed to fill in the space left vacant by a single tooth or several teeth. The various types of dental bridges are held in place by attaching the devices to the real teeth found on either side of the gap.
Implants are embedded into the gum and topped with a crown or cap. A patient may receive a series of individual implants or opt for a procedure known as All on Four. The individual implants can fill in gaps, while the All on Four solution is usually utilized when all the upper or lower teeth are no longer present.
Longevity and Your Choice
How long do dental bridges last? Some dental professionals will tell you that they can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years. It’s not unusual for a bridge that is maintained properly to last for at least a decade. Good oral hygiene coupled with regular visits to the dentist will extend the life of a bridge.
Dental implants are intended to last for a longer amount of time. Some people go for the rest of their lives with the original set. At best, it may be necessary to replace a damaged cap from time to time.
What About Maintenance and Upkeep?
Both approaches are designed to remain firmly in place. That sets aside both bridges and implants from solutions like dentures or removable partials. In terms of general upkeep, you’ll find that the dental bridge vs. implant are very similar. You can brush both, continue to use mouthwash when you like, and in general follow the same sort of routine that is used to take care of natural teeth. Your dentist may recommend the use of certain types of toothbrushes and other products to maximize the results.
The Matters of Appearance and Function
One of the major dental bridge benefits is that no one will know there is anything other than real teeth present. Every section of the bridge will be custom shaped. Even the hue of the bridge will be a perfect match for the surrounding teeth. In terms of chewing or the impact on the ability to speak clearly, the bridge will function in a manner similar to real teeth.
Both implant options also provide a look that matches that of real teeth. Unless you tell someone there are implants present, no one will know the difference. These options also make it easy to chew and to enunciate just as if you had a full set of real teeth.
While there is some difference in cost, with bridges being more affordable, it’s up to you to decide which approach is right for you. Ask for details about the general dental bridge procedure as well as the type of implants your dentist recommends. After you weight all the dental bridges pros and cons along side the particulars of implants, it will be easy to make the best decision.
Andrea Galick is an accomplished Dental Hygienist (RDH) with a passion for helping patients achieve optimal oral health. Andrea has built a reputation as a caring and skilled practitioner who puts her patients at ease and provides individualized care that meets their unique needs.