Flash those Pearly Whites Again with Dental Implants
Are you missing teeth? If so, you’re not alone. About 69% of Americans aged 35-44 have lost one or more of their permanent teeth. To get your smile back, and to be able to eat confidently again, you’re probably considering replacing your missing teeth. There are a couple of options to consider, especially if you are only missing one tooth or just a few teeth. But which procedure (dental implants or a bridge) is better for you? A relatively modern procedure for restoring missing teeth, dental implants look, feel and function just like natural teeth. At first glance, however, a bridge may appear to be the more economical route. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to consider all of the information before making a decision.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is made of three parts: the titanium implant that fuses with the jawbone; the abutment, which fits over the portion of the implant that protrudes from the gum line; and the crown, which is created by a prosthodontist or restorative dentist and fitted onto the abutment for a natural appearance. The fusion of the titanium implant with the jawbone provides stability to the bone and surrounding area, just as a natural tooth does. Working to actually prevent bone loss, dental implants are a tightly locked support system that best mimics what nature intended, with no slippage, decay or damage to surrounding teeth.
What Is a Fixed Dental Bridge?
A fixed dental bridge is a non-removable prosthesis attached to remaining natural teeth. The false tooth or teeth literally bridge the gap between natural teeth. For a long time, fixed bridges were the best alternative for people who had lost teeth, as they were quite successful and aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately, bridges can also present some problems because the natural teeth that lie on either side of the bridge are filed to accept the appliance. This step in the bridge-making procedure may weaken these teeth and make them more susceptible to bacterial plaque accumulations, decay, periodontal disease, and the possible need for future root canals.
Pros and Cons of Dental Implants and Fixed Bridges
Lifespan: While more expensive up front, dental implants end up being a better value. They require little maintenance and can last a lifetime. A fixed bridge has a lifespan of anywhere from 5-15 years, and will eventually need to be replaced.
Impact on Surrounding Teeth: Implants protect the surrounding teeth, reducing the need for future dental work in those areas. Fixed bridges can affect the healthy teeth on either side of the bridge, causing decay and the necessity of crowns, root canals and eventually, a new bridge.
Maintenance: Implants can be cleaned and flossed between, just like your natural teeth. They require little extra maintenance, if any. With a fixed bridge, flossing is more challenging.
Procedure: Fixed bridges do not require surgery and the procedure is quicker, less expensive and easier than getting implants. A dental bridge can also be used in cases where the patient does not have enough bone to support an implant. However, bridges require healthy adjacent teeth, where implants do not.
Knowing these factors will help you make an informed decision about dental implants and bridges. Talk to your dentist today to find out which option is best to replace your missing teeth. He or she is the best person to tell you if you are a good candidate for dental implants or a fixed bridge. Schedule your appointment at The Schiff Dental Group today!This is a paid partnership between The Schiff Dental Group and Philadelphia Magazine