Are you considering a dental implant or bridge to replace one or more missing teeth? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans cope with missing teeth each year.
As you weigh your options, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of the different treatment choices – and why it can be beneficial to replace missing teeth. Here’s information that can help.
Dental Implant vs Bridge: What’s the Difference?
Both bridges and dental implants can fill the spaces left by missing teeth. But there are definite differences between them.
The differences don’t just impact how your smile will look and feel, but also how long the results can last, how other teeth may be impacted, and the process you will experience as a patient.
Here’s a quick summary of each:
- Dental Implant – This is a small titanium screen root that is placed into the bone of the jaw where the previous natural tooth was. Once integrated, it stays in place on its own – like a tree rooted into the ground. Similar to a real tooth root, it holds a crown, which looks and functions like a real tooth. A dental implant does not rely on other teeth around it to hold the crown (artificial tooth) in place.
- Bridge – Unlike a dental implant, a bridge does rely on other surrounding teeth to anchor it in place. A bridge is made up of one or more artificial teeth held in place by attaching them to healthy teeth on either side. In some cases, a bridge may be attached to a dental implant on one or both sides.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Each?
Each option – bridge or dental implant – has advantages and disadvantages. There are many factors to consider in weighing your choices, such as:
- Your insurance coverage and overall costs. While insurance plans vary, most insurance plans include coverage for a bridges and implants. Each plan has different rules and specifications for coverage that need to be reviewed on a case to case basis. In general, bridges are less expensive, although both procedures can be costly. One factor to consider is that implants tend to last longer than bridges and may involve less replacement costs in the long term.
- Time to complete the procedure. If you’re aiming to get the work done as quickly as possible, bridges are definitely a faster procedure. They can usually be finished in two appointments over a period of a couple weeks and in some cases 1 visit using CEREC. Dental implants, on the other hand, may require months to complete. In some, but not all cases, a bone graft may be needed to repair the bone before the implant. This can add additional time to the process.
- The appearance of the results. While both procedures can significantly improve your appearance, dental implants tend to look more natural with a root coming out of the gums. With bridges, visible gaps may occur with the loss of bone and gum tissue over time.
- Impact on other teeth. Bridges can put stress on surrounding teeth and have been associated with decay in these teeth. This is not the case with dental implants. Other teeth are generally not impacted.
- Your general health. Having a dental implant requires surgery, whereas a bridge does not. This may be a factor if you have other medical conditions you are managing. You want to be in the best possible health in order to prepare for any surgery.
Is It Worth It to Replace Your Missing Teeth?
Losing a tooth can be hard – especially if you have a gap that can be easily seen. You may be more hesitant to talk or laugh because you don’t want people to notice.
Also, it can feel odd or uncomfortable to have a space where a tooth used to be. This may even interfere with activities like eating or talking.
Even though you may feel self-conscious, it’s important to know that millions of adults lose teeth each year. It is not uncommon.
There can be many benefits to filling an empty space left by a missing tooth or teeth, including:
- Your confidence. Replacing missing teeth can help you feel more confident about how you look and more comfortable smiling, talking, and interacting with others.
- Your overall mouth health. Filling the space left by a missing tooth can potentially help prevent other problems. For instance, other teeth may shift if you have a space in your teeth. Also, a missing tooth may impact your bite and how you eat and chew.
Meridian Dental Group Is Here to Help
Wondering about your options at Meridian Dental Group? We can help you decide whether a bridge or dental implant may be right for you. We do our best to access as much as possible from your insurance provider and offer financing to make the out-of-pocket cost more affordable. We believe that no one should forgo dental treatment because of the cost. Keeping your teeth healthy is always worth it.
Call (212) 813-0850 today to schedule a consultation or request an appointment. We look forward to helping you recapture your confident smile.