Dental Bridges vs Implants
Over the past 30 years, we’ve watched teeth replacements come a long way. This is great news because we at Shenandoah Family Dentistry understand how important the proper replacement of your missing teeth is to your overall health, well-being, and smile. Today you have the choice between a dental bridge and an implant, with many factors weighing heavily on your consideration here.
Practical Reasons for Both
Previously, a bridge was your only option. It involves the use of your teeth that surround the missing tooth, which is why dentists were still searching for other options. This led to the creation of implants. Now only your missing, individual tooth is replaced without involving any of its surrounding teeth. Dental bridges are still the best option, though if you have crowns, caps, or large fillings on any of your surrounding teeth because your gums have probably receded too far for an implant.
Dental implants are more durable than bridges. Since they’re made from a metal (usual titanium) cylinder, you can expect them to last a lifetime. This material naturally fuses to your jawbone (a.k.a. osseointegration) and is resistant to decay and gum problems.
On the other hand, bridges usually only last for about ten years. This is because part of your natural tooth remains intact underneath it where it suffers from normal wear and tear over time. Your remaining tooth structure is also susceptible to decay and gum disease.
Implants often provide the most aesthetically pleasing result since we can make your new “fake” tooth look just like your natural teeth’s enamel. We may even be able to place it in your mouth right after your tooth extraction. Doing so will preserve the natural amount of bone there, which will also help improve your final appearance.
Changes in Your Oral Healthcare Routine
Keeping your mouth healthy is easier with a dental implant. This is because with a dental bridge you involve at least three teeth to fill the space of a single tooth. Doing so will present challenges when you’re brushing and flossing, which means you’ll need to be even more meticulous there, especially while flossing, since you’ll need to thread the floss under your false tooth. In contrast, you won’t affect any of your other teeth when you have a dental implant. As such, you can continue flossing and brushing your teeth as you would normally do so.
Although a dental bridge costs less than a dental implant, it may need to be replaced in the future. So, while a dental implant seems more expensive, it’s more cost-effective over time. If you have insurance, you’ll want to check to see what it covers, but usually, both are at least partially covered. With an implant, you may also have some time to budget in your part of the cost because you’ll need a bone graft, which will require several months of healing before you can get the implant itself.
At Shenandoah Family Dentistry we’ll help you choose which one of these options is best for you. Give us a call at (540) 667-8731 and schedule an appointment today so you can start feeling and looking better tomorrow.