If you’re interested in replacing missing teeth, you have options. The two choices your dentist is most likely to suggest are dental bridges and implants.
But which is right for you?
Knowing the unique advantages and considerations of a bridge vs implant treatments is vital for making a sound decision, and it’s best to do your research before deciding. Luckily, we have everything you need in one convenient article.
Read on to discover which option is right for you.
Bridge vs Implant
As you’ll soon learn, there are substantial differences between your two options. We’ll take you through all the important information here.
What’s a Bridge?
A dental bridge is one avenue you have at your disposal. It is a fixed appliance that takes the place of a missing tooth. Until recently, a bridge was a patient’s only option for replacing teeth with something functional.
A bridge is cemented in place, making it a permanent option that won’t loosen or move due to eating or brushing.
There are several types, including traditional bridges, resin-bonded bridges and cantilever bridges.
Traditional bridges are created by fusing together two crowns to a false tooth. Resin-bonded bridges are common when a front tooth is replaced. They use metal or porcelain wings to bond the false teeth to the back of healthy ones.
Cantilever bridges are appropriate when there is only a single tooth to hold the device. As a result, they are less durable.
Your dentist will analyze your unique condition to determine which bridge is right for you.
How Does It Work?
To insert a bridge, the enamel in the nearby teeth is prepped to make room for the appliance. Most bridges are made of at least three pieces fused together. The device itself creates a “bridge” between the teeth on either side of the missing one to hold the appliance in place.
Consequently, two crowns are placed on the two healthy teeth bordering the missing one. They act as anchors, holding the device in place. Once it is fitted, the appliance is cemented to the teeth.
Bridges offer several advantages. Firstly, they have a lower initial cost than dental implants and offer a permanent solution that won’t hinder an individual’s eating ability.
Bridges are also natural-looking. Crowns and false teeth are made to look similar to your real teeth’s size and shape.
Before agreeing to a bridge procedure, there are several factors to consider.
Bridges are harder to clean because of the connections between the teeth. Individuals with bridges must be careful to clean around the device, otherwise, the healthy supporting teeth are susceptible to decay.
Bridges last about a decade, so while the initial cost may be low, replacements are necessary as the years progress. This tacks on extra expenses.
In addition, ideal candidates should have healthy teeth nearby the empty area and should be comfortable having them filed down to make room for the device.
Finally, dental bridges do not naturally fuse with your jawbone. As a result, the bone will eventually shrink away from the device, impacting future aesthetics.
Ideal candidates for bridges:
- Have strong teeth and bone on either side of the empty area
- Are responsible enough to carefully clean their teeth daily
- May prefer lower initial costs
- Are comfortable having nearby teeth filed and capped
- Understand a replacement bridge is necessary after about a decade of use
What’s an Implant?
Dental implants also replace a single tooth. They are made up of three main components: a dental crown, a titanium post and an abutment.
The fake tooth is generally made of ceramic or metal. Unlike bridges, an implant does not rely on supporting teeth.
The most common type of implant is the endosteal implant, which is inserted into the jawbone to act as a root. Subperiosteal implants are uncommon, but they provide a lightweight metal implant that fits directly on the bone. They are used mostly for individuals who can no longer wear dentures.
How Does It Work?
A dentist takes impressions of your teeth to create a fake tooth that matches with your bite. Once you agree upon a material, the fake tooth is inserted directly into your jawbone.
After the surgery, your jawbone naturally heals around the implanted device, securing it in place. This takes about six to twelve weeks.
One of the greatest advantages of implants is they are much easier to keep your mouth clean. In fact, patients simply continue their regular dental care. Furthermore, the procedure doesn’t affect nearby teeth, making it far less invasive.
Implants are made of durable material that lasts a lifetime with proper care. That means replacements aren’t necessary down the line.
Finally, implants look and act like natural teeth. They work perfectly in your mouth and even fuse naturally to the jawbone, much like a regular tooth.
Implants have higher initial costs and are surgically implanted. The procedure also requires extensive healing time.
Additionally, to be a candidate for a dental implant, an individual must have a required amount of jawbone left. The jawbone is integral in this process; without it, the implant will not stay in place.
For those who have had missing teeth for extended periods, the jawbone may have receded. That means a bone graft or other measurements might be necessary to prep the bone for the implant, which ups expenses.
Ideal candidates for implants:
- Have strong and appropriate amounts of jawbone around the area
- Are comfortable with higher upfront costs
- Would prefer not to worry about meticulous cleaning
- Are able to take time off work for the procedure
- Prefer never having to replace the device
Get Your Teeth Fixed on Vacation!
Now that you understand the difference between a bridge vs implant procedure, you’re probably worrying about costs. In the US especially, dental processes are expensive. But those prices are considerably less in Costa Rica.
Do you want a vacation? Would you like to return home with the perfect smile in tow? If so, contact us to schedule an appointment.
Our USA-certified dentists are happy to give you the smile you deserve. And we all know a vacation wouldn’t hurt, too.