If you have missing teeth, then you are likely in the market for an excellent replacement. Having missing teeth can cause a dip in your confidence and lead to oral health problems such as gum disease and a misaligned bite. At Gaetz Dental, we are happy to provide patients with restorative dentistry options so they can feel good about their appearance while protecting their oral health.
Dental implants and bridges are two potentially perfect choices for replacing missing teeth. Having said that, implants and dental bridges near you are very different choices. Choosing the option that suits you best depends on a careful review of many factors, including your lifestyle, budget, medical and dental condition, and comfort with dental procedures. Read on to learn more about which restoration is best for you. After familiarizing yourself with the options, make an appointment with a dentist near you to get advice about what to do next.
What are bridges and implants?
Before you can decide which dental restoration is best for you, you need to first understand the difference between the two, and how each restoration works.
A dental bridge is a structure that holds artificial teeth called pontics to fill the gap in your jaw. The bridge is anchored by crowns placed over teeth on one or both sides of the gap. Just how many crowns you will need and where they will be placed depends on exactly what type of bridge you choose. That choice depends on factors like how many teeth are being replaced and where those teeth are located in your mouth. You may opt for a traditional dental bridge, that uses crowns as described above, or you may choose a Maryland dental bridge, which uses metal clasps hidden behind your natural teeth as anchors.
A dental implant does not directly replace a missing tooth, but actually replaces that missing tooth’s root. A titanium implant is placed into your jaw bone where it fuses to that bone and is accepted by your body as natural tissue. Once that has happened, a restoration is attached to the implant. That restoration — in this case, a crown designed to match your other healthy and clean teeth exactly — replaces your missing tooth. Implants can replace single teeth, more than one tooth or even hold entire sets of dentures in place.
It is helpful to note that dental bridges can be placed in the mouth using dental implants as a more permanent form of restoration, so at times, these two restorations can be used in tandem with one another.
What are the pros and cons of dental bridges?
Like all restorations, dental bridges come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages:
Advantages of dental bridges
- A less invasive procedure than required to receive implants
- Because crowns are placed through non-surgical procedures, you’ll have a shorter recovery time
- Whereas poor bone density may disqualify you from receiving implants, that’s less of an issue when dealing with the crowns associated with dental bridges in Red Deer.
Disadvantages of dental bridges
- Dental bridges have a shorter lifespan than implants, though the actual lifespan will vary widely depending on individual factors. As a result, they’ll have to be replaced by a Red Deer dentist at some point.
- Fitting a crown over healthy teeth to support a bridge requires that those healthy teeth be modified to make room for the crown. That does increase the risk that those teeth will experience tooth decay in the future.
- Dental bridges do not stimulate the jawbone and won’t prevent bone deterioration.
What are the pros and cons of dental implants?
Dental implants are considered by many dental professionals to be the gold standard for tooth replacement, however, they too come with their own set of benefits and drawbacks:
Advantages of implants
- Implants require no special maintenance, can not develop tooth decay, and can be a lifelong solution to tooth loss.
- Because the implants are rooted into your jaw, they offer the most stable and natural solution for tooth loss.
- Implants are the only tooth replacement option that replace both the tooth root and tooth itself, mimicking the appearance and function of a natural tooth.
Disadvantages of implants
- The process of receiving dental implants does involve surgery that, like any medical procedure, involves some risks and for which not all patients are suitable.
- Dental implants are a more expensive option than bridges, though that must be balanced against their far longer lifespan.
- The process of healing from dental implants can take up to a year, making it a while before you can benefit from a completely restored smile.
- Dental implants may not be covered by dental insurance benefits.
When it comes to choosing between dental implants and dental bridges, you can’t really go wrong. A dentist in Red Deer who is familiar with your medical history, personal circumstances and goals will help you to identify the best option for your needs. If you are a good candidate for dental implants, then your dentist will likely recommend that you go that direction as they are the best way to replace missing teeth. If not, they may recommend dental bridges as an excellent restorative option for your personal needs.
Either way, a solution for those unsightly and confidence-degrading gaps in your smile is at hand. To take the next step in replacing your missing teeth, make an appointment to discuss implants and bridges at a dental clinic near you.
Visit Gaetz Dental
Our dedicated team of dental professionals is happy to provide our patients with several options for tooth restorations so that they can regain an excellent quality of life and boost their confidence. If you would like to learn more about dental implants and dental bridges, and determine which is best for your needs, please do not hesitate to contact us and book your consultation today. We cannot wait to get you started on your smile transformation journey.