Teeth replacements have come a long way in the past 30 years. No longer do patients have to be embarrassed with tooth loss, whether natural or by extraction. Now there are treatments that provide patients with a false tooth or teeth, making it look and feel as if they had never lost their teeth in the first place.
Two such methods that many of our patients ask about are dental bridges and implants. Many wonder what the differences between the two are and which method is right for them. If you’re curious about implants and bridges and are wondering which solution is better for you or a loved one, read on below!
Implants and Bridges: What’s the Difference?
When it comes to the anatomy of a tooth, it has two main parts – the crown (the part you see) and the root (the part that is hidden and encased in bone). The implant that a patient would receive is actually a root replacement that is fused into the jawbone, making it much more stable. A crown is then attached to the implant, allowing the false tooth to function and look like the natural tooth that the patient had lost.
Bridges, by contrast, are fixed in place by attaching the false tooth to the natural adjacent teeth. The tooth to be replaced is called a pontic after the French word for “bridge” (pont). The teeth on either side of the pontic provide the support, just like an actual bridge would. The adjacent teeth are prepared by having their enamel removed and their crowns or caps replaced, and a three-unit bridge made of three crowns is created with the false tooth being in the middle and bonded to the adjacent natural teeth.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Implants
Implants won’t affect adjacent teeth whatsoever, first of all. Secondly, implants do not decay, and the patient is much less likely to develop gum disease. The downside is that implants involve more planning time, including healing time before the permanent tooth is replaced. It also requires minor surgery, making it the more expensive method that patients choose.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Dental Bridges
Bridges are great because they are a quicker, cheaper option for the patient. They require less time for the patient to see and enjoy the final result. While no surgery is required for dental implants, the enamel and crowns do have to be removed and redone on the adjacent teeth. In addition, there is a larger chance for gum disease and tooth decay to take place than there would be with implants, and bridges might not last as long as implants would.
No matter which option a patient chooses, he or she will be satisfied with a solution that will look natural, be functional and reliable, and feel good. If you want to know more about these options, feel free to call us here at Foley Dental Group at (618) 288-9670! We can help you determine which treatment is right for you.