Bellingham Dentist

Choosing Between Bridges and Dental Implants

Considerations for Missing Teeth

If you have a missing tooth, or teeth for that matter, there are a couple of options you can consider. Dental bridge or dental implant, each of which has its advantages. Both restore the function of missing teeth, as well as bring back the aesthetics of a complete set of teeth. Let’s look at what they offer, their differences, and discover which is best in addressing your unique mouth condition.

Dental Bridge versus Dental Implant

Firstly, how are they constructed? A bridge is made of a false tooth suspended between two crowns that the dentist cements onto prepared natural teeth on either side of the gap. An implant is a false tooth attached to a titanium post inserted in the jaw bone the periodontist or oral surgeon has prepared. The color of the false teeth in both appliances matches the surrounding natural teeth. However, a bridge may be slightly more noticeable because, unlike an implant, the false tooth of a bridge isn’t embedded in the gum.

When deciding between a bridge or implant, the location of the missing tooth is another important consideration. A bridge that replaces a missing tooth at the front of your mouth may not look so natural, unlike if it replaces one toward the back of the mouth. You will be able to smile with more confidence, if so. In fact, the ADA recommends implants for restoring a natural, attractive smile that looks like nothing has been replaced.

Then, unlike bridges, implants also help prevent the jaw bone from deteriorating. We know that the absence of the biting and chewing forces on the bone where a tooth once was there, will cause the inactive bone to shrink and deteriorate. With implants, the titanium post embedded into the jaw will encourage integration and bone growth that will support the false tooth. However, the false tooth in a dental bridge doesn’t contact the jaw bone, so there may be bone loss.

Time and Cost of Treatment

Another consideration is the time and the cost of treatment. If you have the budget for an implant, it might be better. However then, a bridge may take over two visits within a few weeks, but the waiting time for an implant is longer – something like three to six months for the jaw bone to integrate around the implant post. On the other hand, a dental bridge may be better for your budget. Maintenance-wise, both options should be cared for similarly. Good oral hygiene prolongs the life of both options.

Deciding What’s Best For You in Bellingham

Let us help you decide the best option for you when you come see us at Tetrick Family Dentistry. Whether you choose a bridge or implant, what counts is whether your smile is happy and confident.