Patients seeking a permanent solution to a missing tooth often have trouble choosing between a bridge and an implant. While both solutions help restore functionality and save your smile we wanted to provide some insights into the pros and cons of each so you can find the best solution for you.
Let’s take a look at Dental Implants:
• A dental implant is as close to your own natural tooth as modern dentistry can provide. A dental implant looks, feels and functions just like a natural tooth and usually will require no more maintenance than what is recommended for your own natural teeth.
• One of the biggest benefits of implants is that they can last a lifetime when done with high quality materials combined with expert training.
• Unlike a bridge a dental implant does not require the dentist to prep abutment teeth a process that can potentially remove perfectly healthy tooth structure.
• A dental implant substitutes the root structure of the missing tooth helping to stabilize and maintain healthy bone tissue for a lifetime.
• Implants take more time. Like all good things a dental implant takes more time to complete from start to finish because it takes a few months for your implant to fully and completely integrate into your jaw bone, a process known as osseointegration. However in many cases we can create a temporary crown until osseointegration has completed and you are ready for your permanent restoration.
• Dental implants do require surgery since the implant must be placed into your bone, while the procedure is straightforward, as with any surgery there are always risks. Fortunately advancements in implant technology and advanced training have nationally reduced the risk of implant complications to less than 3% on average.
Now let’s take a look at B:
• Faster. A bridge often takes less time from start to finish, and is often completed in as little as 3 to 4 weeks.
• The cost for a bridge may be less expensive, especially if you require bone augmentation or a sinus lift.
• If you have any of the following health concerns and depending on their severity a bridge may be the optimal solution for you.
– uncontrolled diabetes
– take blood thinners or certain medicines that suppress the immune system
– suffer from clenching or bruxism
– are a heavy smoker
As always be sure to fully review your health history with your dentist so you can make the best decision for yourself.
• Bridges require more maintenance to keep them clean and healthy. Specialized threaded floss is needed to protect against bacteria buildup that can result in irritation and gum loss.
• While bridges can last for many years it is likely that you will have to have the bridge replaced due to wear or if decay should present on one of the supporting teeth. A bridge may need to be replaced in as little as 7 to 10 years depending on the patient.
• Bridges are not as natural looking or aesthetically pleasing as implants.
• Preparing teeth for a bridge may damage perfectly healthy teeth. Adjacent teeth, called abutments, require a lot of preparation requiring the removal of a considerable amount of often healthy tooth structure.
Dental Insurance and Implants
While dental implants have a long been available and accepted as a viable treatment option by the American Dental Association, approximately 1/3 of all dental insurance policies do not offer dental implants as a covered service. That means that those insurance policies will not pay anything towards an implant even if the patient decides that a dental implant is the best treatment option for them.
Which should I pick?
Hopefully this blog has helped educate you and given you an idea of which treatment option you would like to pursue. If you are still not sure which solution is right for you or you just have questions please call the office and set up a time to come in for a consultation to better determine which treatment is right for you.