Dental Implants vs. Bridgework

b2ap3 thumbnail Implants Bridges

Approximately 70% of the population have at least one tooth missing. Dental implants and bridgework are two of the most often executed, least expensive and easily tolerated of the many options for replacing teeth offered by the dental industry. Often, it’s hard to choose between the two, so let's take a look at their various advantages, disadvantages and differences.

Bridges

Bridges first became a part of dentistry in approximately 700 BC, in Etruscan society. The modern version we use now came into use in the early 20th century. It works by adjoining to abutments, or healthy teeth still in the mouth. The dentist makes a mold of the mouth and prefabricates the bridge specifically for that patient's shape.

The process of installing a bridge requires that the abutment teeth be prepared to hold and give additional strength to the bridge. This preparation often includes drilling and some sanding, to make sure the healthy teeth can support the bridge. Most often a cap is placed over the healthy teeth that are meant to support the bridge.

With all the grinding, sanding and buffing done in preparation for the bridge, it’s a good time for plaque to take hold, and tooth decay is likely. Most people will need to have a root canal at some point after getting a bridge, especially if nerves were affected. There is also a greater chance of gum disease if a patient is wearing a bridge. They have a life of about 10 years in most conditions.

Implants

Implants are a whole new ball game that does more or less the same thing as a bridge. Put simply, it’s a pricier option, with a few more perks than a dental bridge, but it also has some distinctly unpleasant disadvantages. Implants are permanent replacements for teeth. They use an apparatus that is screwed into the jawbone and protrudes from the gum, upon which a crown is placed. It does not wear out or have to be replaced. It can replace a single tooth without affecting any others, or the health of the rest of the mouth.

Implants are very reliable, as they do not decay or become loose. Installing implants is a much bigger procedure than wearing a bridge, and it takes good planning and a fair amount of surgery time. There is a moderate amount of time required for healing, both before and after the crown is added, so there will be some time spent with missing teeth. Weighing the advantages and higher cost to implement, implants are a considerably better option for some people than bridge work.

While both procedures do the same job, essentially, they do so in radically different ways, with different costs and difficulties. Choosing which procedure to use depends solely on one’s own situation and circumstances. While you're deciding which is best for you, consult with a dentist. It’s beneficial to write down any questions you have before you visit the dentist so you won’t forget any import information. Ultimately, only you can make the right decision for yourself, but a dental professional can help you do so by providing all the information you need.

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