If you have experienced tooth loss, you may be contemplating your restoration options. Advances in dental technology have allowed today’s patients to have access to more treatment options than ever before. When it comes to missing teeth, many dentists recommend dental bridges or implants. Tooth loss is very common, with an estimated 69 percent of adults between the ages of 35 and 44 have lost at least one tooth, according to an NIH journal publication. By age 74, nearly a quarter of Americans have lost all of their adult teeth. Failure to replace missing teeth can increase your risk of gum disease and can lead to problems like crookedness, crowding, and uncomfortable pressure. If you’ve narrowed down your options to a dental bridge or dental implant, there are some things you should know. Learn more about these popular restoration options before deciding which is right for you.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
If you have one or multiple missing teeth, a dental bridge may be the right solution for you. A dental bridge can help “bridge” the gap with an artificial tooth. It is typically made of crowns on either side of the gap that supports the pontic (false tooth). The crowns are then cemented into place for stability.
Many people can benefit from a dental bridge; however, they are most commonly recommended to people who have suffered tooth decay, gum disease, or injury to the mouth, resulting in tooth loss. In some cases, a patient may have been born with missing teeth due to a congenital condition.
There are four main types of dental bridges, including:
- Traditional Fixed Bridge – This bridge has two or more crowns with a filler tooth and the crowns keep the bridge in place. Traditional fixed bridges are typically constructed of metal, ceramics, or porcelain fused to metal.
- Cantilever Bridge – With this type of bridge, the pontic attaches to just one abutment tooth. A cantilever bridge is recommended for patients that have only a tooth on one side of the gap.
- Maryland Dental Bridge – This type of bridge is recommended if you have missing front teeth. It contains wings on each side of the bridge that bond to your natural teeth.
- Implant-Supported Bridge – This type of bridge is similar to a traditional fixed bridge; however, instead of it being cemented in place, an implant-supported bridge is held by implants.
What Are Dental Implants?
Like a dental bridge, a dental implant is used to replace a missing tooth. However, with an implant, you do not need to use your existing teeth as anchors. Dental implants contain screw-like devices that are surgically implanted into the jawbone to act as an anchor for an artificial tooth or crown.
Implants have several key advantages over other restorations. An implant looks and feels like your natural tooth and is therefore more comfortable. They also improve chewing function and can result in a lower risk of cavities developing in nearby teeth. Dental implants also have a high success rate.
There are two main types of dental implants:
- Endosteal Dental Implant – This is the most common type of dental implant. With this type of implant, the implant is surgically inserted into the jawbone and can hold one or more artificial teeth.
- Subperiosteal Dental Implant – With a subperiosteal dental implant, the implant is affixed on top of the jawbone. This option is typically recommended to patients who do not have sufficient height to their jawbone.
Which Is Better Bridge or Implant?
Choosing between a dental bridge or an implant is not always easy. While dental bridges tend to be more effective than bridges in the long term, they are also more costly and the procedure to place an implant is more invasive.
However, dental implants often appear more realistic and can help you achieve a beautiful smile. If you’re not sure which is right for you, speak to your Melbourne FL dentist about your thoughts and concerns.
Schedule an Appointment
Both dental bridges and implants can be used to restore your smile. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment with our Melbourne Florida dentist, call Artistic Touch Dentistry at 1.321.724.1400.