Dental Implants Compared to Dental Bridges
As a dental patient, it can be easy to get confused with regard to the various terms and treatments involved in this industry. You don’t work in this world every day, so it’s understandable that you would get a little confused. At Spokane Dental, we want to make sure that our patients are perfectly clear regarding the treatment options we provide, so this post should help clear up one potentially confusing topic.
In this post, we are going to discuss the differences between dental implants and dental bridges. First of all, what are each of these treatments? We’ll provide a clear explanation of each, and then we’ll move on to talk about which may be right for you. Of course, if you’d like to discuss this with the team here at Spokane Dental directly, just give us a call – we’d love to help!
What are Dental Implants?
To get started, let’s talk about dental implants for a moment. Dental implants are a popular option to replace missing teeth. This treatment involves implanting a device directly into the jawbone which will act as an artificial root. Then, a new tooth will be placed on top of that implant, which will either be removable or permanent. When done properly in a professional office, you can expect the end result to be a beautiful replacement for your natural tooth or teeth.
It is the end result that makes this treatment such a great option for many patients. When all is said and done, you’ll be left with something that many other people will simply think is a natural tooth. With that said, the journey to get to a finished product is what gives some patients second thoughts. This is a relatively involved treatment, as you might imagine since an implant is going to be placed into your jawbone. There are more visits involved with this treatment than some other options, the work is more invasive, and the overall process is costlier than alternatives. We don’t mean to turn you off of the idea of dental implants with that statement – this is a great treatment option – but all patients should have a clear picture of the process before making their decision.
What are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges are another option for replacing missing teeth. As the name would indicate, these are artificial teeth which will ‘bridge’ the gap between remaining natural teeth. So, if you have had a tooth extracted, you may opt for a bridge to replace that tooth, rather than a dental implant. To keep the bridge in place, retainer crowns will be used on adjacent teeth to provide support and structure for the device.
So, why would a patient opt for a dental bridge instead of an implant? For starters, this is a less invasive treatment, which some patients who are uncomfortable with dental work may prefer. If you are someone who would struggle with the idea of having an implant placed in your jaw, adding a bridge may be an attractive, and less intimidating, alternative.
There are also the matters of time and cost to consider here, as well. In most cases, having a dental bridge added will take less time and fewer visits than a dental implant. And, you’ll spend less money (generally speaking), so that is an advantage worth noting. Do these points mean that all patients should choose dental bridges over implants? Of course not – there are many situations where implants are the right option, but each case is unique. Speaking directly with your dentist about what treatment would be best for you is the logical way to proceed.
The Advantage of Permanent
We’ve mentioned already in this article that having dental implants placed in your mouth can take a bit of time and multiple visits to your dentist. That time commitment, and financial investment, is worth noting, but so too is the durability of the product once it is complete. If you have a titanium root placed in your jaw, that that root is topped by a quality porcelain crown, you could get an incredibly long lifespan from that arrangement. It’s possible that your implant could last 20 years or more, as long as it is treated properly.
You are unlikely to get a similar lifespan from a dental bridge. This is still a durable treatment choice, but it doesn’t have the same longevity as an implant. In this case, you may get as little as just a few years before the crown needs to be replaced. It’s also possible to stretch a crown out beyond a decade, depending on the quality of the product and the placement in the mouth. As you can see, there is an obvious give and take with regard to upfront investment (of time and money) and the long-term outlook for your treatment.
There is no need to rush into this kind of important decision. If you are trying to decide between dental implants and dental bridges, you’ll want to take as much time as you need to gather information and weigh the pros and cons. If possible, talk to other people in your life who have had one of these treatments or the other. Speaking with someone else who’s gone through a similar situation may help you think it through clearly. In the end, it is your oral health on the line, and you should only make a decision that gives you total confidence and comfort moving forward.
Give Us a Call
So, which is right for you, dental implants or dental bridges? Well, it should go without saying that we can’t make that determination until we see you in person for an examination. Only when you have been properly examined, and your own personal needs and desires have been discussed, can we recommend one treatment or the other. To get started, please give us a call during business hours to schedule an appointment. We look forward to serving you!