Many patients don’t have the information they need to make the best choice for their oral health and smile. When you are missing a tooth or you have a badly damaged tooth, there are two options for replacement:
Moreover, if you have a badly damaged tooth, you can restore it with a dental crown too.
The dental implant is a small titanium cylinder that is surgically inserted into the jawbone in order to replace the missing tooth. That cylinder bonds with the bone tissue true a biologic process called osseointegration to create an artificial root on top of which a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge or a removable denture is placed.
A dental bridge is a fixed dental prosthesis used to replace one or several missing teeth by permanently joining an artificial tooth to adjacent teeth or dental implants. The biggest disadvantage of bridges is that they lead to the loss of large amounts of healthy tooth tissue because a pair or crowns are installed onto your natural teeth on either side of the gap.
Dental Implant: Pros and Cons
The biggest benefit of choosing a dental implant is that it supports jaw health and unlike bridges, implants don’t rely on neighboring teeth for support and in that way protect remaining teeth from damage. The bone remains strong and healthy, bone loss is usually avoided (unlike with dentures) because dental implants actually replace the tooth and its root. Dental implants look better and naturally mimic the feel and function of the real teeth. They last longer with an average lifespan of about 25 years.
The major drawback of installing a dental implant is that it may need adjunctive procedures (such as sinus lift or bone graft) to increase the amount of bone that supports the implants. This requires a multi-stage surgery.
Dental Bridge: Pros and Cons
The procedure to install one dental bridge is quick, easy, and safe. It usually takes around two visits to the clinic for preparation and placement of the dental bridge compared to three or more for a dental implant. A dental bridge is also the cheaper of the two options. Dental bridges are less invasive and are a great alternative for those who cannot undergo surgical procedures for installing dental implants due to medical reasons.
The disadvantage of dental bridges is that does not deter further tooth loss below the crown which creates instability and a shorter lifespan as a consequence. The crowns will need to be replaced after 7-10 years. This process can also weaken the anchoring teeth and might cause failure.