If you’re an adult who has lost a tooth, perhaps through decay or trauma, you can replace it with either a dental implant or a bridge. Replacing a tooth can help to prevent your remaining teeth from shifting and causing a change in your appearance and bite patterns.
A dental implant is made up of a few parts: a titanium post is implanted into your jawbone and will serve as a root for the new artificial replacement tooth. The bone fuses to the titanium post, which is what makes it last for often decades. While the implant and jawbone heals (which takes from six weeks to nine months), a temporary crown is attached to the implant. After healing is complete, a permanent crown can be fitted to the implant.
A dental bridge (sometimes known as a fixed partial denture) consists of one or more artificial teeth which is secured to sound teeth at either side. The sound teeth are trimmed down and crowned and the bridge is secured to the crowns. A resin bonded bridge is another solution which is attached to the sound teeth with resin cement and metal bands rather than crowns.
Which one is Best for You?
- Visibility. Dental implants look (and feel) just like natural teeth. If you choose a bridge to replace a tooth toward the back of your mouth, it really won’t be seen when you talk or smile. If the bridge is to replace a missing tooth in the front, the effect may not be as natural – you will want to consider a dental implant for a missing front tooth.
- Chewing. Dental implants and bridges provide similar chewing capability.
- Decay of adjoining teeth. If a tooth either side of the bridge develops a problem, the entire bridge may need to be replaced.
- Strain on adjacent teeth. Implants do not put any strain on adjacent teeth whereas bridges due to their construction will put some added pressure on those other teeth.
- Cost. Implants are more expensive than bridges.
- How long do they last? Assuming you maintain good oral hygiene and visit your local Ivanhoe dentist on a regular basis, a bridge can last from 8 to 15 years. Dental implants can last for decades, although the crown attached to it is going to have normal wear and tear and may need to be replaced at some point.
- Maintenance. Cleaning implants and flossing between teeth is just like you would with your natural teeth. Bridges require more work for cleaning and flossing. You will have to brush and floss under the false tooth
- Treatment time. Bridges, depending on what work is needed, can be completed in two to three visits, whereas dental implants may take up to nine months.
- Jaw bone loss. Implants help prevent the jaw bone from deteriorating. When a tooth falls out or is extracted, the jaw bone may shrink over time which will change the appearance of your mouth. With a dental implant, chewing helps to stimulate the jaw bone, reducing the risk of bone loss.
To get more information about dental implants and bridges, please call our practice and meet with one of our dentists. We will perform a thorough examination of your mouth and teeth and let you know which option is best for you. If you’re coming to our clinic on the train, we are a 2-minute walk from the Ivanhoe railway station. There is also a car park right by the practice.