Despite your best efforts, there may come a time when you need to have one or more teeth replaced whether it is due to trauma, severe decay, or gum disease. Missing teeth can adversely impact your confidence and affect your overall health, while also making it challenging to eat your favourite foods, and even speak clearly. If you find yourself in this situation, it can be hard to find a reason to smile.
At Woonona Dentists, we offer several procedures to replace missing teeth and restore your smile and self-confidence.
The two most popular solutions for missing teeth replacement are dental bridges and dental implants. Both have the same result – a beautiful and full smile, but they are different treatments with very different price points.
To help you decide which option will work best for your unique smile and lifestyle, we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons for dental bridges vs. implants.
What Is A Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is made by capping the teeth on either side of a gap with crowns; they are then joined together with a false tooth or teeth. The teeth on either side of a gap must be healthy and prepped by being reshaped before being capped with dental crowns. These teeth anchor the dental bridge in place.
Dental bridges close gaps from missing teeth and improve bite functionality as well as the aesthetics of your smile.
Dental bridges are permanent fixtures and can only be removed by your dentist.
- Dental bridges are widely considered the most cost-effective measure for replacing missing teeth.
- No bone grafting or drilling is required, and the procedure is less invasive than dental implants
- The quickest way to an improved smile – it takes just three weeks from the first consultation.
- Dental crowns come in 4 types – ceramic, porcelain, gold and base metal alloys. Most patients opt for porcelain as they can be colour matched to your existing teeth giving you a uniform smile.
- Improve your bite and chewing function
- Prevent teeth from shifting into the gap and causing more dental problems.
- Dental bridges need to be replaced every 5-7 years.
- Healthy teeth need to be filed down and altered when fitting a bridge.
- Bridges are more noticeable than implants.
- Dental bridges can cause bone loss over time.
- Dental bridges are challenging to brush and floss.
What Is A Dental Implant?
A dental implant accurately mimics a real tooth – titanium posts are surgically placed into the jawbone where it will fuse, keeping it permanently in position. Crowns are then screwed or cemented on to the posts. The fusing process (or osseointegration) can take anywhere between 3-6 months.
- A success rate of 90%.
- Once the procedure is finished dental implants take little to no maintenance and can last a lifetime. The crown may need to be replaced in 15-20 years.
- Aesthetically dental implants are almost identical to your natural teeth so no-one would ever know you have one.
- Unlike with dental bridges, the teeth either side of the gap(s) don’t need to be filed down.
- Maintain and even restore your jawbone for a more youthful appearance.
- From consultation to completion, the treatment can take 6-9 months with multiple visits to the dentist.
- The surgery is invasive, and there is potential for nerve damage and infection.
- Implants can be costly in comparison to dental bridges.
- Not every patient is a suitable candidate for the procedure.
Dental Bridge vs. Implants – The Final Word
When it comes to deciding between a dental bridge and dental implants, there are a few key considerations. How many teeth need to be replaced? What cost can you afford? And how do you feel about multiple visits to the dentist?
A dental bridge is a good solution if you have been missing teeth for a long time because your bone has already receded and may be insufficient to anchor an implant. In this case, your dentist may recommend a bone graft, but that will add to your cost and the healing period.
One dental bridge can fill a gap of 2-3 teeth while also meaning fewer trips to the dentist, but on the downside, you may find yourself needing to replace them 5-7 years down the line.
If you are looking for the perfect lifelong smile, then dental implants are a good solution. They give you the most natural look, can last a lifetime and can prevent further damage to existing teeth.
For more information about dental implants and dental bridges and our lab guarantee or to book a FREE implant consultation, please call Woonona Dentists on (02) 4210 9078.