For patients with a missing tooth, implants and bridges are two of the options you may be considering. This article might be helpful in your decision making process, as it weighs up some of the pros and cons of each option for you to consider.
A dental implant is a replacement for a missing tooth, which is supported by a piece of titanium, similar to a screw, which is implanted into the jaw bone and finished with a dental crown. On the other hand, a bridge is a replacement tooth that is supported by neighbouring teeth (normally crowns), or bonded to the back of the tooth.
Below are some pros and cons of each for you to consider in your decision making process.
Implants – Pros:
- As implants are attached to the bone, they can help to prevent bone loss. Teeth normally stimulate bone growth and remodeling, and support the jaw bone. When a tooth is lost, the area of bone that it was supporting will start to resorb, creating bone loss. When an implant is placed, as it integrates into the bone, it creates the same kind of stimulation and support that a natural tooth does, preventing bone loss.
- As an implant is attached to the bone like a natural tooth, it acts and feels the most like a natural tooth to patients, making it seem like they’ve never lost the tooth at all. They can be cared for in much the same way as a natural tooth, with regular brushing and flossing.
- Often these are also the best, most natural looking option.
Implants – Cons:
- Implants do require multiple dental appointments, and the process can take 3-12 months to allow for successful healing.
- Dental implants require simple surgery, which does like any surgery come with some risks.
- Dental implants do require good dental hygiene, as the gums around the implant can become sensitive to plaque and bacteria, just like the gums around natural teeth. Without good dental care, an implant is susceptible to inflammation and some more serious issues.
Bridges – Pros:
- While bridges aren’t anchored to the bone, they are still supported by the neighbouring teeth, and therefore provide a strong biting surface.
- Bridges have less medical contraindications and aren’t restricted by bone availability.
- Bridges often look much better than alternatives such as dentures.
Bridges – Cons:
- Bridges require the neighbouring teeth to be crowned in order to provide a solid anchoring point. If these teeth are sound, then some of the existing tooth structure needs to be removed for the crown to be placed. This also places stress on these supported teeth.
- Bridges don’t feel as similar to your natural tooth as an implant does.
- It is very easy for plaque and calculus to build up underneath a bridge, so they do require extra care and specialised floss to keep the area clean and healthy.
- Damage to the supporting teeth, through normal wear and tear or through decay, may lead to the bridge needing to be replaced over time.
Of course, if you have any further questions about implants or bridges, any of the wonderful Dentists practicing at Floss would be happy to answer these for you. Please don’t hesitate to call our team.