Dental Implants vs. Bridges
When a person loses a permanent tooth, deciding how to replace it is an important dental health decision. Two common tooth replacement options are dental implants and dental bridges. While bridges have traditionally been more widely used, dental implants provide significant advantages over bridges in most cases. Plus, bridges are outdated technology.
A dental implant is a small titanium screw that is surgically inserted into the jawbone. The implant fuses to the bone and acts as an artificial tooth root. A crown is attached to the implant post to create an artificial tooth. The entire process takes several months as the implant integrates with the bone during healing. A single dental implant can replace one missing tooth.
In comparison, a bridge uses the existing neighboring teeth to hold an artificial tooth in place by cementing crowns onto the adjacent teeth. The artificial tooth fills the gap where the missing tooth was located. While bridges can be a quick and affordable solution, implants are superior when replacing a single missing tooth for several reasons.
First, dental implants help maintain the integrity of remaining teeth. With a bridge, the adjacent teeth must be shaved down to place crowns that will hold the bridge in position. Thisprocess damages healthy tooth structure. Over time, shaved teeth may become sensitive, prone to decay or fracture. Implants stand alone and do not impact the structure of neighboring teeth.
Second, implants prevent bone loss in the area of the missing tooth. The jawbone deteriorates when it is not stimulated by the presence of tooth roots. Implants mimic roots and preserve bone volume. With a bridge, bone loss still occurs leading to changes in the shape of the face and smile over time.
Third, dental implants have a higher long-term success rate than bridges. Properly cared for dental implants can last a lifetime. The survival rate of bridges is often only 10-15 years and additional dental work is then needed when the fail. Implants are a predictable, long-term solution.
Fourth, implants feel and function like natural teeth. They are securely attached to the jawbone so they feel normal when biting and chewing. Bridges may feel loose or less comfortable over time. Implants preserve sensation and function similar to natural teeth.
Finally, implants maintain dental health. With a missing tooth, the surrounding teeth may shift or drift over time. This can lead to bite problems and increased risk for periodontal disease. Implants prevent this decline in dental health by preserving the integrity of the bite.
In summary, dental implants provide a longer lasting, more comfortable solution for replacing a single missing tooth. Though the upfront cost is typically higher, implants better maintain the health of surrounding teeth and bone. For long-term benefits, dental implants are superior to bridges for replacing a single missing tooth in most situations. Anyone missing a tooth should consult a dentist to determine if an implant is the right choice for them.
Dr. Nugent is a leader in dental implant technology in the greater Pasadena, Texas area. To explore your options on tooth replacement call our office at 713-941-8261. We are conveniently located at 3421 Burke Rd, Ste A, Pasadena, Texas 77504.