Two of the most popular alternatives to partial dentures are dental bridges and dental implants. If you are missing one or more teeth and looking to replace them, you may have wondered what the advantages and disadvantages of each are. So what is the difference between the two, and which one will work best for your dental situation?
What are dental bridges?
A traditional dental bridge is composed of a false tooth or teeth, known as a pontic, being held in place by dental crowns on the surrounding natural teeth. It is used only when you have teeth on both sides of the gap.
While there are many materials that can be used for bridge work, they are typically made from materials such as porcelain fused to metal or zirconia.
Advantages and Disadvantages of bridges
The advantages of dental bridges are that they do not require any bone grafting. They also can be less expensive and require less time to complete than a dental implant.
Some of the disadvantages of dental bridges are that they require the dentist to remove a portion of two perfectly healthy teeth which will support the bridge. This can potentially compromise the health of these teeth in the future as decay and cavities can get under those crowns causing the bridge to fail.
People in the dental profession have published varying opinions on how long bridges can last, largely because your oral care routine, diet, and lifestyle can greatly impact the lifespan of a bridge. The average lifespan of a three-unit bridge is five to seven years, and by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dental professional for regular visits, it could last over 10 years before it needs to be replaced.
If you are missing many teeth in a row, dental bridges may not be the best option for you. From an engineering standpoint, it is not well-advised to place more than one or two pontics on a bridge because the support teeth of the bridge will not be able to support any more than this with long-term success.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are artificial teeth with “roots” that are inserted into the jawbone, mimicking the roots of your natural teeth. Implants consist of three parts, a titanium screw which is the root; an abutment that connects the crown to the implant, and a crown, which is the part of the tooth that sits above the gumline. Crowns are generally made from zirconia or porcelain fused to metal.
Advantages and Disadvantages of dental implants
Some of the disadvantages of dental implants are they require a certain amount of bone in order to be placed within the jaw bone. Because the body loves titanium, our bone will grow around the titanium implant making it stable within the bone. If you are missing bone, this may require bone grafting. If bone grafting is required, this adds to the overall cost of the implant and lengthen the time of treatment.
The advantages of dental implants are they are the longest-lasting replacement for natural teeth. With a very high 10-year success rate, about 97%, implants can be a lifetime solution with the proper care and hygiene This means although bridges are less expensive upfront, dental implants may be a less expensive option for you in the long-term.
Unlike dental bridges, implants actually promote jawbone growth. Because the implants have artificial roots inserted into the bone, the jaw is stimulated and the bone does not recede, keeping a more youthful appearance.
For more information on the pros and cons of dental implants and bridges, call us at STAR Dental Implant Center (1-866-828-2871) in Costa Rica. Our doctors are determined to provide you with the smile you desire and deserve!