07 September 2022
If you’re missing one or more teeth or expect to in the future due to dental issues, you’ve probably been looking at your tooth replacement options. Dental implants and dental bridges are both options that could help depending on your particular case.
Speaking with an oral surgeon is the first step to finding out more, but you can also read on to learn more about the advantages of dental implants over dental bridges.
The Difference Between Dental Implants and Dental Bridges
While both implants and bridges are common treatment options for missing teeth, they differ in several important ways. There are certain situations where either may be more appropriate, but dental implants can provide many benefits in cases where both treatments are viable options.
A dental bridge is similar to a dental crown, except that it provides a row of several replacement teeth. The bridge can be made of various materials but is often porcelain or ceramic. Like a dental crown, a bridge relies on natural teeth to serve as a foundation.
A dental bridge can span the gap if one or more teeth are missing in a row. The two teeth on either end of the gap have material removed so that they can serve as support for the dental bridge.
Dental implants do not require natural teeth for a foundation, instead, they are titanium posts surgically implanted into the jawbone. The posts become the foundation for a crown or other tooth replacement.
Dental Implants Are Long-Lasting
When you get dental implants, that are two separate components to consider: the implant — the titanium post embedded in the jawbone — and the crown, bridge, or other tooth replacement that goes over the implant.
The dental implant itself generally lasts the remainder of your lifetime, and unless complications arise, they are considered permanent. While it is possible to experience implant failure at some point, typically related to serious conditions that affect bone strength, like osteoporosis, this is highly unlikely.
Dental bridges are generally expected to last between five and seven years, with many lasting ten or longer with proper care. Once a bridge becomes worn down or damaged, it can generally be replaced.
The replacement tooth or teeth attached to the dental implant can also be replaced as needed. The implant procedure only needs to be done once, which makes swapping out a replacement tooth, if needed, a much simpler procedure.
Dental Implants Are Incredibly Strong
While you will also appreciate having a great smile, the primary motivation behind most tooth replacements is to ensure natural eating and speaking and prevent long-term oral health issues. The strength of dental implants makes them ideal for those objectives.
The titanium posts themselves are incredibly strong. Once implanted in the jawbone, the titanium undergoes osseointegration, a process by which the bone bonds with the titanium, providing increased stability.
Once integrated, the implant is just as strong as natural tooth roots, which means it can easily withstand the stress of chewing and other movements.
Dental bridges are also strong, owing to the two natural teeth they use as a foundation. The bridge is attached with dental cement that provides a lasting bond. However, the bridge can stress those teeth significantly, potentially damaging them in the long term.
Dental Implants Are Versatile
A dental bridge can replace missing teeth effectively, but it is only suitable in specific situations. For a dental bridge to work, there needs to be a healthy tooth at each end of the gap left by a missing tooth. In many cases, a patient with a single missing tooth could have damage or decay in adjacent teeth as well.
In general, the widest gap that a bridge could be used to address would be the gap left by four missing teeth in a row. Larger gaps require wider bridges, which are less stable and more likely to break.
Dental implants can be used to deal with essentially any arrangement of missing teeth. That includes individual missing teeth, multiple missing teeth, or even full arch treatment.
Find Out More About Dental Implants
If you’re missing teeth and want to find out more about your options, you can schedule a consultation at Mid-Kansas OMS. Contact our office today to get started.