If you have missing teeth or have learned that you need to have adult teeth extracted in the near future, then you may be understandably worried about how your missing teeth will affect your overall appearance. Fortunately, you do have options for replacing your missing teeth. The two most common options include dental bridges and dental implants. Read on to explore the differences between the two and figure out which one is right for you.
In the simplest of terms, a dental bridge involves replacing one or two missing teeth by securing a prosthesis to nearby teeth. In this sense, the new tooth is attached to the teeth adjacent to it, rather than to the gum and jaw bone itself. There are two types of dental bridges: removable and non-removable.
Many dental patients choose dental bridges for replacing one or two teeth because this procedure tends to be less expensive than a dental implant while also resulting in fewer complications. At the same time, however, a dental bridge comes with potential drawbacks. For example, if one of the anchoring teeth needs to be removed in the future, the bridge will need to be replaced with an implant.
A dental implant procedure, on the other hand, can be done on as many teeth as needed—and the tooth's position in the patient's mouth doesn't matter. Most dental implants are done in a series of two procedures. During the first procedure, the post of the implant is drilled into the supporting gum and jaw bone. In a second procedure, the permanent prosthetic tooth is attached to the post.
While dental implants do tend to be more expensive than dental bridges, they can last for a lifetime, so long as the implants are properly cared for with regular brushing and flossing. Furthermore, dental implants more closely mimic the feel of a real tooth, as the tooth is anchored to the jaw bone rather than to adjacent teeth. Still, since the procedure occurs in two parts, it can be a time-consuming type of dental work to have done. There's also more risk for complication (such as bacterial infection) with dental implants than with a bridge.
Now that you're aware of the differences between a dental implant and a bridge (along with some potential pros and cons of each), hopefully you're in a better position to determine which option is right for you. Speak with a dentist, such as at Somerset Dental On James, for more information.