Losing one or more of your natural teeth can affect your overall smile and, of course, self-esteem and self-confidence. For that reason, it is important to determine the best way to have them replaced as soon as possible and prevent teeth shifting and periodontal disease, as well as the negative effects of tooth loss on the jawbone and gums. The most prevailing methods to replace missing teeth are fixed bridges and dental implants. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of each, so you can decide which one is best for you.

What are Fixed Bridges?

A fixed bridge is used to bridge the gap between one or more missing teeth, it is permanently cemented into place, and consists of false teeth usually made from porcelain. During this restorative procedure, the neighbouring teeth need to be filed down or shaved so that the dentist has sufficient space to align the crowns correctly with the opposing teeth and enable a strong connection. Needless to say, the natural teeth have to be relatively healthy with no decay or structural issues. Unfortunately, this process is irreversible, and there is no way your natural teeth can be used as normal teeth after they have been modified.

Fixed bridges have an increased risk of decay and cavities, mainly because some of the tooth’s structure is removed. This makes the tooth more prone to decay and leads to the need for a root canal treatment somewhere along the line. Plus, you will have to replace your fixed bridges every 5-7 years to maintain the excellent initial results.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are titanium posts that are inserted into the jawbone so that they support a crown, via a surgical procedure. After that, the post has to fuse with the jawbone (it takes approx. 3-5 months) before an abutment is attached to the post. The abutment will provide the platform to screw the dental crown onto (or cement it).

Dental implants can last more than 15 years if inserted by a knowledgeable and skilled dentist. This means that if you have one at your 40s, it will last for life. You will only have to replace the crown every 10-15 years, and this is because of the normal wear and tear. Also, there is little to no gum and bone loss, compared to fixed bridges that come with some loss. Finally, if you are wearing a bridge, you will need special brush and floss, as opposed to dental implants that you can brush and floss like normal.

So, even though both treatments achieve a great aesthetic result, with fixed bridges you will probably have to deal with gum tissue and bone loss, which will happen anyway as we get older, but will cause a problem only to bridges. In this case, there will be gaps opening up underneath the pontics. With a dental implant we actually simulate a natural tooth root as the crown emerges the same way as a natural tooth. Plus, you don’t need to have any healthy tooth grinded down.

Regarding cost, the cost of a bridge or a dental implant depends on factors, such as:

  • The materials used (metal alloy, composite resin, etc.) & their quality.
  • The number of teeth that need replacing.
  • The position of the teeth in the mouth (the front teeth are always more demanding than the posterior).
  • The dentist’s experience.
  • Surgery complexity (for dental implants).

Note: Bridges are usually a more cost-effective solution, compared to implants. However, the latter are significantly more affordable in the long run as they are longer-lasting (don’t have to be replaced as often as dental bridges) and provide better aesthetic results.

Are you a good candidate for dental implants?  contact us to book your first FREE consultation at SameDay Teeth Suite, where we can discuss everything in full detail and come up with the best solution to your problem.

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