Dental Implants vs. Bridges: What’s the Better Choice for a Long-Term Investment?
Dental Implants or Bridges for Restoring Your Smile
Tooth loss is a more common occurrence than most realize, especially as we grow older. A staggering 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and these numbers rise significantly with age, with 30% of adults 65–74 years old having no natural teeth. These statistics truly show the crucial need for effective and long-lasting tooth replacement solutions.
Choosing a long-term investment for your smile doesn’t just enhance your aesthetic appearance, either. It plays a substantial role in maintaining your overall oral health. Whether it’s a dental implant or a bridge, these restorative options not only bring back the joy of a full smile but also prevent further oral complications. By investing in your smile, you’re prioritizing your health, self-confidence, and quality of life.
Let’s take a closer look at dental bridges and implants so you can make a confident decision between these two options.
What are dental bridges, and how do they work?
Dental bridges, as the name implies, bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. They’re a traditional option that’s been used for decades, and bridges remain a popular choice for many adults.
A typical dental bridge includes two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap and a false tooth/teeth in between. The crowned teeth are also referred to as anchor teeth, while the prosthetic tooth is called a pontic. Bridges can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. It’s also possible to have a dental bridge attached to two dental implants instead of two crowned natural teeth.
What are the pros and cons of dental bridges?
Dental bridges are less expensive when compared to dental implants. The cost can vary depending on the number of missing teeth and the region where you receive treatment.
The procedure for dental bridges is simpler and typically less invasive than that for dental implants. It doesn’t require surgery, such as bone grafting, which is occasionally necessary for dental implants.
Dental bridges take less time to complete. You can have a new tooth in a matter of weeks, whereas dental implants can take several months or even over a year if bone healing is required.
A dental bridge, on average, lasts between 5 and 15 years, which is significantly shorter than dental implants.
Affects Adjacent Teeth
For a dental bridge to be installed, the adjacent teeth must be contoured and prepared to accommodate the bridge. This process can weaken these teeth and make them more susceptible to decay.
Dental bridges may not feel or function exactly like natural teeth. Some people find them less comfortable than dental implants.
What are dental implants, and how do they work?
Dental implants are an advanced long-term solution for people who suffer from missing teeth, failing teeth, or chronic dental problems. They work as artificial tooth roots, similar in shape to screws. When dental implant posts are placed in your jawbone, they eventually fuse with your natural bone.
Once healed, dental implants become a very sturdy base for supporting one or more artificial teeth, which are made with a dental crown placed atop a hidden abutment. The crowns are custom-made to match your natural teeth and blend seamlessly with your smile. Dental implants also preserve and stimulate natural bone, fostering bone growth and preventing bone loss.
What are the pros and cons of dental implants?
Dental implants are known for their durability and longevity. With appropriate care and maintenance, they can last a lifetime, making them a cost-effective long-term solution for tooth loss.
Dental implants are designed to blend in with the rest of your teeth and are custom made to match your natural teeth closely. This leads to a more natural, aesthetically pleasing smile.
Prevents Bone Loss
Unlike bridges, dental implants fuse with your jawbone, stimulating the bone and preventing bone loss that usually occurs with tooth loss.
Comfort and Functionality
As dental implants mimic your natural teeth, they provide optimal comfort and functionality, enhancing your ability to chew and speak.
The initial cost of dental implants can be higher than other tooth replacement options, such as bridges.
The process of getting dental implants is more complex and time-consuming, often requiring multiple visits and a period of healing between procedures.
Dental implant procedure involves oral surgery and, as with any surgical procedure, comes with associated risks, such as infection, nerve damage, and sinus problems.
Not Suitable for Everyone
Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. Patients with insufficient bone density, certain chronic diseases, or a habit of heavy smoking may not be suitable for this treatment.
How do the long-term benefits and financial investment compare?
In the debate of dental implants vs. bridges, dental implants have many more long-term benefits that positively impact oral and overall health. Their lifespan can extend to a lifetime with proper care, making them a durable and sustainable tooth loss solution. Dental implants also maintain jawbone health and avert bone loss, a significant advantage over other tooth replacements.
While dental bridges are still a valid option for some, the long-term cost-effectiveness of dental implants is notable. Despite the initial expense, their durability and low maintenance often result in fewer dentist visits for adjustments and replacements, saving money and reducing the risk of dental discomfort over time.
Restore your smile after tooth loss at Laurel Manor Dental.
Whether dental implants or bridges are the best choice for you is a decision to be made in consultation with a trusted dentist in The Villages, Florida. At Laurel Manor Dental, we’re committed to helping you regain your confident smile and restore your oral health.
Your smile restoration journey is a partnership, one where we provide expert advice, so you can make informed decisions. Don’t let tooth loss dictate your future oral health. It’s time to take the initiative for a healthier, happier smile. Contact us and schedule a smile restoration consultation today.