Finding the ideal solution for a missing or damaged tooth can be quite a headache. Two solutions that dentists, in general, recommend are dental bridges or dental implants. Overall, both serve the purpose of replacing a damaged or missing tooth, however, differ in terms of cost and benefit.
Before getting into why you should opt for a dental bridge over the implant, it is important that you know the difference between the two.
A dental bridge consists of an artificial tooth/teeth with a crown on each side or one side, depending on whether there is a tooth next to the space the tooth will be fitted. The side crowns are fitted over neighboring teeth to provide support for the bridge. The false tooth/teeth are cemented in so they stay in place.
Dental implants are a newer trend than bridges. As the name suggests, implants are implanted into your jaw with the help of a screw. The screw is screwed into the root structure of the tooth and then the jaw is given 6 to 12 weeks to heal. After it has healed, the replacement tooth is attached to it.
The Advantage of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges have the following advantages:
• Provide chewing comfort and are small and lightweight.
• Allow you to regain your normal bite force.
• Patients usually take little to no time in adapting to a dental bridge.
• Bridges support adjacent teeth, making sure they stay in place.
• Bridges are properly fitted in 2 to 3 appointments.
• Durable and will last for years, as long as you practice good oral hygiene.
When comparing dental bridges to dental implants, there are specific advantages of bridges, making it the preferred choice by many patients. These are:
Protects adjacent teeth
Many individuals with missing teeth have adjacent teeth that are in bad shape. To protect the teeth, it is important that they have a crown fitted. With dental bridges, a crown is fitted over adjacent teeth. This protects the tooth and ensures it remains healthy while the gap is filled with a false tooth. This is not the case with a dental implant. The implant will just fill the gap left by the missing tooth, leaving the adjacent tooth/teeth as it is.
Ultimately, a dental bridge can protect one or two adjacent tooth/teeth as well as fill in the gap left by the missing tooth. You end up protecting two additional teeth with a crown when you opt for a dental bridge.
Dental bridges can be done in as little as two sittings, most dentists will complete the process over two days. The timeline is far quicker than that of a dental implant. As mentioned before, the screw is fitted first after which there is a healing period of 6 to 12 weeks before the replacement tooth is put in. The process generally takes several months to complete.
Most individuals don’t like to wait that long to fill the void, left by a missing tooth, in their smile. They are looking for an efficient solution that restores their smile and hence, opt for a dental bridge.
The process is not invasive
Dental bridges require no surgery. However, dental implants have a surgical component that may not be suitable for individuals that may have pre-existing conditions. Be sure to discuss any conditions you may have with your dentist when you are picking between dental bridge and implants, so they can tell you if the condition may worsen due to the surgical component of the implant.
Lower initial cost
There is a huge difference, almost 50%, between dental bridge and implant. Dental implants can cost upwards of $4,000 while bridges are usually half that price. With that said, dental implants are more durable when compared to bridges. Fixed bridges usually need to be replaced after 10 to 15 years. If you are looking to save up on the initial cost and know you will maintain good oral hygiene, then a dental bridge is the best option. Bad oral hygiene will lead to dental bridge problems, which will run up your dental bills.
Tips to Help You Take Care of Your Dental Bridge
Following are tips for individuals that opt for dental bridges, to maintain them:
• To ensure your bridge stays intact, you need to make sure that the adjacent and surrounding teeth are strong and healthy.
• To help you get accustomed to the new bridge, you should consume soft foods and take small bites when you eat.
• Watching what you eat is important, do not consume too much sugary or unhealthy foods. Doing so may compromise the teeth that serve as the anchor of the bridge.
• You will need to adapt a high level of oral hygiene to ensure the bridge stays intact and the surrounding teeth are healthy. This means brushing twice a day, flossing at least once, and so on.
When it comes to picking between a dental bridge and implant, the decision ultimately depends on how much you are willing to wait and pay. A dental bridge is both a solution that is lower in cost and quicker, a reason why most individuals opt for it.