Choosing Between Dental Implants And Dental Bridges
When people are looking for various interventions to replace a missing tooth, they may be confused as to whether to have dental implants or to use dental bridges. While both fundamentally do the same thing, there are significant differences when it comes to durability, cost of placement as well as the care that is required for both. Let us start by examining both of these restorative dental techniques before comparing the two.
Dental implants can be best described as artificial teeth that are surgically placed to replace missing teeth. Dentists surgically insert a titanium rod in the gum and allow it to fuse with the bone. They use titanium compounds because, over the years, it has been found that the metal fuses easily with bone. Once the rod is firmly in place and the wound has healed, doctors then place a crown on top of the rod. This crown serves as the chewing surface of the tooth with the titanium rod anchoring it. Dental implants are almost indistinguishable from the natural teeth and require little to no maintenance at all. Apart from a few initial visits to the dentist to ensure that the implant has healed properly, implants do not require any more than the regular oral hygiene procedures that are recommended for normal teeth.
Dental bridges come in many forms but basically serve to bridge a gap between one or several missing teeth. Dentists often use natural teeth on either side of the gap to anchor the bridge. These anchor teeth are known as abutment teeth while the artificial teeth in between are known as pontics. Bridges can be made of either porcelain or other forms of ceramic materials.
Choosing Between The Two
Implants are superior to bridges when it comes to durability as well as aesthetics. Another advantage of implants is that they prevent teeth from becoming misaligned. Teeth shift position in order to compensate for a missing tooth and this can lead to a number of dental problems. Implants also effectively stimulate the natural growth of jaw bone mass which contributes to better oral health and stronger teeth. On the downside, implants require surgery and this comes with the usual risks associated with any intrusive procedure such as infection. Getting an implant can be expensive and time-consuming.
When it comes to dental bridges, the process is a lot simpler and thus faster. It is also not as intrusive as getting a dental implant and generally speaking less costly. On the downside, dental bridges are less aesthetically pleasing than dental implants. People who have dental bridges inserted also have to have replacements done every five to seven years. Dental bridges may also damage the abutment teeth leading to even more dental problems for a person.
When making the decision to go with one option or the other, people have to consider all these factors and weigh them against their own needs and circumstances. For example, if cost is not an issue and one is looking for a near-permanent solution to missing teeth, implants work better than bridges.