If you are missing teeth, you’re not alone. Among adults age 35 to 44, 69% of them have lost at least one adult tooth. It’s important to replace the tooth you’ve lost, so you can avoid potential bone loss, improve your teeth’s function, or simply improve the aesthetics of your smile. But when you go to the dentist, you’ll notice that there is more than one option for replacing missing teeth; dental implants or dental bridges. Here’s the difference between the two.
Dental ImplantA dental implant is a replacement tooth with a titanium implant that is placed into the jawbone. You can compare it to a replacement hip or knee, except it’s a root for a new tooth.
Dental implants can last a lifetime and they don’t require as much maintenance as a bridge. They also look very natural and can greatly improve your overall smile. Dental implants protect your smile and stop any deterioration of your jaw bone. Last but not least, they don’t put any extra strain on your teeth. Since an implant has its own support, it doesn’t rely on the surrounding teeth for chewing, leaving them as healthy as possible.
All these advantages come with a higher price tag and a longer procedure. The timeframe it takes to place an implant can be 3-4 months, and the cost will depend on the condition of your jawbone and the type of implant you need.
Dental BridgeA dental bridge fills the gap of a missing tooth without drilling into the jawbone. A bridge is supported by the teeth on either side of the space, and is made fused to crowns that are placed on those teeth.
Bridges don’t look as natural as implants, and they need to be replaced every 5-7 years. In order to prepare a bridge, the healthy teeth next to the space end up losing a good amount of tooth structure so they can be crowned. These teeth also undergo quite a bit of stress as they now bear the pressure from the missing tooth that still has no root.
Bridges are less expensive and have a quicker procedure. You might think of it as a quick and easy fix for the short term, while dental implants are the more permanent solution for missing teeth.
No matter which solution you choose, it’s important to speak to a dentist who can explain the pros and cons of both, and answer any questions you may have. If you’re missing teeth, feel free to contact our office today.