“What’s the Difference Between a Bridge and Implants?”
Missing teeth affect more than just your smile. Your bone density and alignment of surrounding teeth are also at risk. If you are contemplating having a restoration rather than dentures, there are two options you can choose from at Raleigh Dental Arts: a bridge or implants. Both treatments will fill the gap and stabilize the alignment of your remaining teeth, but there are important differences to consider.
“What are Dental Bridges?”
The most common type of bridge is porcelain fused metal, which is to say a metal structure with porcelain cover. It sits over the “gap” left by your missing tooth, with functional crowns on either end that are bonded over healthy teeth. It helps to keep teeth from drifting, supports facial muscles, and allows you to eat and speak as normal. The process should take about two visits to our Raleigh office over the course of two weeks.
“What are Implants?”
Implants are a more permanent tooth replacement alternative that stands independent of other teeth. Dr. Agarwal will assess your gums and bones to make sure that it’s healthy enough for an implant. If you jaw has thinned since the tooth or teeth were lost, you may need a bone graft.
Once the graft is healed, Dr. Agarwal will place a titanium screw into your bone that acts as a root. He will place a covering over it (and sometimes a temporary crown, too) to protect it as it heals.
This healing process is called osseointegration. The body bonds with your implant and begins to build new bone around it, permanently fusing it in place. Once everything is integrated properly, your permanent restoration (crown, bridge, or denture) is affixed over the implant.
With great home care you can expect it to last for the rest of your life.
“What if I Have Multiple Missing Teeth?”
Dr. Agarwal might recommend varying options, depending on the number and locations of your missing teeth. While a bridge is a great option when you have stable teeth to support it, it also means altering otherwise healthy teeth. Implants are less-invasive to your overall smile and can give you longer results, often making them the better option.
“Which Lasts Longer? Bridges or Dental Implants?”
The titanium used to make your new dental implant will most likely last for the rest of your life. Great home care and ongoing preventive maintenance is important. Traditional dental bridges generally need to be replaced once a decade, and frequent replacement can ultimately leave you with little supporting tooth structure to rely on. The great thing to know is that your implants are incredibly strong and can support the weight of multiple missing teeth.
While the investment in dental implants can seem like more at the beginning, they’re worth it. Dr. Agarwal frequently recommends implants over traditional bridges when there is adequate healthy bone to support them. Visit us at Raleigh Dental Arts to see which option is best for you!