The decision of what to do when looking to replace a tooth often comes down to wondering what the difference is between a bridge and an implant. Your dentist will be your best resource in determining a good option for you, but replacing the tooth is the best option for your long term oral health.
Implants have a reputation of being costly, but they offer a decades-long solution to a missing tooth and are as close as you can get to getting your natural tooth back. Bridges are sometimes cheaper, but they often are a lower quality option.
As if it was never gone!
A dental implant replaces the missing tooth in both form and function. A small metal post is set into the jaw bone, and a crown, generally made of porcelain, is fitted on top of the post. The jaw bone will actually grow around the post, anchoring it securely in your jaw as a natural tooth. The porcelain crown is colored to match your natural tooth color and retains the same durability and strength as a natural tooth. Unlike bridges, there is no slippage or squeaks, and there is no risk of jaw decay, as the jaw bone grows around the implant.
In order to be fit for a bridge, you actually have to lose a portion of the healthy teeth surrounding the gap. Then the bridge is fitted over the gap, which is simply covered up by the bridge. Bridges work for people whose jaw is not strong enough or thick enough to carry an implant, but a dental implant gives the best and most reliable option.
The implant procedure is generally done over a few sessions, starting with a consultation. The jaw is prepared to accept the implant and may require a bone graft if the jaw is not strong enough or not thick enough. Then, the metal post is placed in the jaw. After the sometimes months-long healing process, the crown is placed and the implant is done!
An investment in your health
The process to get an implant can sometimes take months of healing, however, you get decades or a lifetime of use from the implant. Bridges often must be replaced as the teeth around the gap shift, causing gaps to form. With the implant, however, you retain your natural smile and never have to worry about it again.
You aren’t just investing in your smile but in your ability to speak clearly and eat without undue trouble. The health of your mouth is demonstrative of the health of your body. The better you can keep your oral health, the healthier you are overall and the less susceptible you are to getting a number of mouth and gum diseases.
You keep your smile
A dental bridge can be a good option for some, but you do not fill the gap left and your remaining teeth will shift position over time. This can dramatically change your smile and even the appearance of your face.
A dental implant prevents that from ever happening. The titanium post will root into the jaw, just like the roots of your natural teeth. This preserves your jaw bone and prevents any jaw loss or decay.
Implants offer a great option for both replacing a missing tooth and keeping your natural smile. They allow you to keep your natural bite, and you can feel secure that you are able to live your life just like before when you had your natural tooth.