You have two options to replace a single missing tooth: a dental implant and a dental bridge. In order to make the right choice, it’s critical to have accurate information about both options and to compare the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Consult this guide, compiled by Orlando implant dentist Ronald Trevisani, to familiarize yourself with what dental bridges and dental implants can offer you.
Dental Implants at a Glance
Implants are a standalone replacement for the tooth root and crown. The implant post is surgically placed in the jawbone and an artificial tooth is mounted to the top of the post. The implant structure does not require the strength or support of the adjacent teeth.
Bridges at a Glance
Traditional dental bridges consist of three crowns bonded together. The middle crown is an artificial tooth that fits into the gap, and the side crowns cover the teeth adjacent to the gap.
It usually takes two visits to plan and place a dental bridge. During the first visit, photographs and impressions are taken of the affected teeth, and this information is sent to the laboratory that constructs the bridge. A small bit of tooth enamel may be removed from the teeth receiving the crowns. Once the bridge is ready, the patient returns for a second visit to have it placed.
Traditional dental implants have a longer placement process. First the implant post is surgically placed in the jawbone and it takes about three to six months to heal. Once the bone has healed around the post, a crown is mounted to the top of the post.
Preserving the Jawbone
Dental bridges are fixed into place by attaching to the surrounding teeth. The artificial tooth rests on top of the gums without providing any stimulation to the underlying jawbone. Without this stimulation, the bone can eventually deteriorate and, as a result, the facial structures can start to collapse and the remaining teeth can loosen and fall out.
Dental implants, on the other hand, have a titanium post that is placed in the jawbone, where it becomes part of the bone’s anatomy. The forces from chewing on the implant help to keep the bone strong and intact, preventing a host of problems.
Dental implants are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. They are carefully designed and constructed to match the size, shape and shade of the surrounding teeth. Dental bridges are not as aesthetically pleasing as implants.
Dental bridges last an average of five to seven years before wearing down and needing replacement. Dental implants can last indefinitely because they are fixed in the jawbone. With the proper care, they can last a lifetime.
Consult with Our Orlando Implant Dentist
The tooth replacement option that is best for you depends on your unique needs and goals. A consultation with Dr. Trevisani can help you determine whether you would benefit from a crown or a bridge. Contact our practice today to learn more about your options.