Everyone wants a healthy, attractive smile, but we don’t all have the financial means (or the courage) to get dental implants. While implants are the gold standard of modern dental technology, some patients find crowns or dental bridges are an excellent alternative for them. Here are the main differences between bridges and implants, and what those differences might mean for anyone seeking a tooth implant in Surrey BC.
How Implants Work
Dental implants are a good solution for anyone who has lost one or more teeth as a result of an injury or oral disease. The implants are titanium posts inserted surgically into the jawbone, which then fuse with the bone to give them a stable position. Once the implants are established, which takes around 3 to 6 months, your dentist will mount an artificial tooth onto the post.
There are two types of dental implants: endosteal and subperiosteal options. Endosteal requires the insertion of a metal post that will support the replacement tooth, while subperiosteal implants have a metal from fitted to the jawbone inside the gum tissue. As the gum heals, the frame attaches itself to the jawbone and when it’s completely healed an artificial tooth is mounted.
What Dental Bridges Are
A dental bridge does exactly what its name says it does – bridges the gaps between missing teeth. It’s supported on either side by the remaining natural teeth, or by crowns that are implanted for the purpose of acting as abutments. A traditional bridge is the most common model for tooth replacement, or a cantilever bridge can be used when there are natural teeth available on one side of the gap. Then there are also Maryland Bonded Bridges, which are bridges made from porcelain and fused with metal.
Making YOUR Choice
Patients often opt for the easiest choice available to them, and that applies to dental restorations, too. Bridges therefore fit the description, since their installation doesn’t require dental surgery. Installing a bridge is a more convenient process, which also minimizes the trauma to your mouth and causes minimal pain. Bridges take a few weeks at the most to manufacture and fit, while implants can take up to three months. These factors all help to make dental bridges more affordable, too.
There are some drawbacks, however. Fitting bridges instead of dental implants might feel as good, but they don’t always look the part. Many appear to be less natural-looking than implants, and they need to be replaced every 5 to 7 years. It’s also possible that you will see some long-term damage to the adjoining teeth, because of the amount of preparation the tooth structure needs.
Advantages of Dental Implants vs. Bridges
There’s no question both dental implants and dental bridges have pros and cons. Points in favour of the first include:
- They require minimal maintenance and can last a lifetime if you get high-quality implants.
- The restorations look exceptionally realistic, and are strong and stable enough to feel and function like natural teeth.
- Implants help to protect your jawbone by stimulating and preserving natural bone growth, which helps to avoid bone loss.
- Unlike dental bridges, implants stand on their own supports without adding strain to adjacent teeth.
Dental bridges, however, don’t require surgery because, unlike implants, they are not attached to the bone. This helps because there are always risks involved in any surgical procedure, such as complications from dental sedation, infection, nerve damage, jaw fractures, and impact to the surrounding teeth. This makes bridges simpler, less inherently uncertain, and generally lower in cost than implants.
The final cost of the procedure you choose depends on the type of restoration you choose, and the condition of the teeth. All the same, dental bridges typically come in at a lower price ceiling, which is often a factor that helps patients make their decision. In some instances, pricing can differ dramatically between the options. Most insurance companies cover a significant amount of the cost for dental bridges, while only certain ones cover the choice of dental implants.
The Bottom Line
With the long lifespan of dental implants, patients of all ages make excellent candidates for this procedure. Implants typically only need replacing after 15 years or more, as a result of natural wear and tear. Bridges, on the other hand, might be more affordable in the short term but they generally last between 5 and 7 years. With the right care and maintenance, some patients can stretch this to 10 years.
To discover whether dental implants or dental bridges are the right option for you, please contact our tooth implant specialists in Surrey BC today. Please contact us to schedule your appointment.