Just a few decades ago, when you were missing a tooth, pretty much your only option was to get a dental bridge, or a series of crowns strung together to fill the gap in your smile. Modern dentistry has come a long way since then with the invention of dental implants. These biocompatible titanium posts replicate the root of your tooth and are then topped with a realistic crown to restore your smile back to what it once was. Still, bridges present a great option for plenty of people with missing teeth. So, which should you choose? Let’s compare the two.
Good Reasons for Both
If you’re getting a dental bridge, your two remaining teeth on either side of the space in your grin need to have most of their enamel removed to place crowns over them. However, if those teeth are damaged or decayed and would end up needing crowns anyway, a bridge may be your best option.
On the other hand, bridges don’t replace the root of the tooth, only the visible portion, called the crown. As a result, your gums and jawbone tissue will shrink due to lack of stimulation from the roots of your natural teeth. Dental implants stimulate these areas just like your roots used to.
Factors to Consider
When making this decision, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
Generally, implants are far more durable than bridges. Titanium is impervious to cavities. Meanwhile, your natural teeth still exist under a bridge, so those teeth can still develop decay. Dental implants are also designed to last for several decades. They can sometimes even last the rest of your life. Conversely, the average lifespan of a bridge is only 10 years.
This factor depends on your dentist’s ability to craft a lifelike restoration. Oftentimes, dental implants can be fabricated to more closely mimic natural teeth. Your dentist will be able to tell you which one they’re better at creating.
While the cost of dental implants can be greater initially, they can be more cost-effective over time. Bridges cost less upfront, but they have to be replaced every few years, which can gradually rack up costs that may end up being more than what you would have paid for an implant.
So, Which One Should You Choose?
Ultimately, you and your dentist can decide at your consultation. Your dentist knows your mouth best and also has an idea of which option would be more beneficial for your unique oral situation. Although bridges were once considered the gold standard for replacing missing teeth, dental implants have become more commonplace as people realize all the benefits they have to offer, and in most cases are the more preferred treatment.
About the Author
Dr. Krista Cayo earned her dental degree from Southern Illinois University’s School of Dental Medicine. Throughout her career, she has remained steadfast in her efforts to provide her patients with the absolute best in dental care, which is why she has earned a certificate in Advanced Education in General Dentistry. Dr. Cayo is able to both place and restore dental implants at Cayo Dental Care in St. Peters, MO, and she can be reached for more information through her website.