Replacing a tooth is sometimes necessary. Whether it’s a lost tooth, broken tooth, or a tooth that cannot be saved, it is always best to replace it. There are a few different options for artificial teeth, the most popular choices being dental implants and bridges. Before you decide which option to choose, consider this comparison and the recommendation of your dentist.
The Importance of Replacing Teeth
Before we get into the pros and cons of the different options for replacing teeth, it’s best to understand why it’s important to replace the tooth in the first place. Even if it is a back tooth that doesn’t show, when a tooth is lost or removed it leaves a gap between your otherwise healthy teeth. This can cause your teeth to shift out of proper alignment, leaving more gaps in other places among your teeth. Also, in the area of your jaw where the tooth once was, the bone will start to dissolve and weaken. Replacing the tooth as soon as possible after loss or extraction will help to prevent bone loss in the jaw and preserve your overall dental health.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant consists of an artificial tooth root that is implanted in the jaw with a crown on top. The tooth root is surgically placed in the jaw bone, resembling a screw. It fuses to the bone over time, creating a strong hold like a natural tooth root. The crown is then attached to the top of the root that looks and functions just like a natural tooth.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is an artificial tooth that is held in place by crowns placed over the adjacent teeth. A bridge can be just one tooth or a row of teeth. If there are healthy teeth on either side of a missing tooth, those teeth can serve as the anchors for your bridge. If not, dental implants can be placed on either side of the bridge to act as anchors.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants have many benefits, which is why they are usually recommended as the best option for most patients. Those benefits include:
- Preserve jaw bone health
- Look natural
- Function like a natural tooth
- Hold the placement of surrounding teeth
- Can last for your lifetime
Benefits of Dental Bridges
There are also many benefits to dental bridges, which is why they are sometimes chosen by patients over implants. Those benefits include:
- Less expensive than dental implants
- Still look natural
- Function mostly like a natural tooth
- Hold the placement of surrounding teeth
Why Choose One Over the Other?
With so many benefits to both options, how do you decide which option is right for you? This is when it may help to discuss the disadvantages of both.
Dental bridges do have a few disadvantages when compared to dental implants. Bridges attached to healthy teeth require those teeth to be shaved down in order to have crowns placed over them to hold the bridge in place. With this process, you unfortunately lose perfectly healthy tooth material in the process. Other attachment options for bridges include using metal attachments that are cemented onto teeth to hold the bridge in place, but this option is not as strong and can damage the healthy teeth. Overall, bridges may not last as long as implants.
One disadvantage to dental implants is that they are more expensive than bridges. That is because they are most often the best option for your teeth and jaw. Financing options can make them more affordable if cost is your main concern. The only other disadvantage is that dental implants may take longer to place if you have enough bone loss in the jaw to require bone grafting first. This procedure is done to strengthen the existing jaw bone so that it can support an implant. Bone strengthening and regeneration can take a few months, meaning it may take longer to replace your tooth. However, bone grafting is not required for every patient. In fact it is less likely in situations where the tooth is replaced right away or soon after the tooth is lost or extracted.
Get a Professional Opinion on Which Option is Right for You
Aurora Dental offers dental implants and bridges as part of a complete range of dental services. If you have a missing tooth or a tooth that may be beyond saving, Aurora Dental will evaluate your condition, listen to your concerns, and recommend the best replacement option for you.