Want to replace a missing tooth? You have two effective options, each with its own advantages and disadvantages: dental implants and dental bridges.
Replacing missing teeth isn’t just for cosmetic reasons — although that’s certainly important! A gap between your teeth can lead to bite problems, jaw pain, speech difficulties, and further misalignment of your teeth. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers two excellent options to replace your lost teeth: dental implants and bridges.
If you have a missing tooth, you’re not alone. In fact, 69 percent of adults between the ages of 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, or tooth decay. To maintain your oral health and your bright smile, consider tooth replacement with either an implant or bridge.
Dental implant vs. Bridge
When it comes to deciding between implants and a dental bridge, your choice depends on the number of teeth being replaced, your overall health, and your budget. Here’s a quick rundown of each option and its pros and cons.
Dental Implants. With dental implants, your dentist can replace a missing tooth by removing the root of the damaged tooth and inserting an abutment in its place. Made of titanium, the abutment anchors the crown or replacement tooth to your jawline.
- Permanent. Dental implants can last up to 15 years or more.
- Natural Looking. Implants look, feel, and function as your normal teeth. No one will know you have an implant!
- No Damage to Healthy Teeth. Your natural teeth surrounding the implant are much less likely to decay.
- Cost. The cost for implants can be high and might not be covered by insurance.
- Time. From start to finish, dental implants can take months.
- Health. If you have certain conditions such as diabetes, you may not be a candidate for implants. Your jawbone must be strong enough to hold the implant. If it isn’t, you may need a bone graft.
Bridges. As the name implies, dental bridges act as a “bridge” between a missing tooth or teeth. The bridge attaches to either one or two natural teeth to fill the gap with a false tooth or pontic. In some cases, the bridge is attached to a dental implant.
- Less Expensive. Dental bridges are less costly than implants and are typically covered by insurance.
- Fewer Visits. You can have a dental bridge made in as little as two appointments.
- No Surgery. Dental implants require extensive oral surgery, especially if a bone graft is needed. To fit a bridge, your dentist will remove a bit of the enamel and dentin on the natural teeth surrounding the gap where the bridge will be attached. Dental bridges are a much less invasive dental procedure!
- Less Permanent. Bridges last between five to seven years, although some remain viable for 10 years. If you have a bridge, expect to need a replacement at some point in the future.
- Lose Their Luster. Bridges wear down over time and may not retain their natural appearance.
- Decay. The teeth around the bridge have a tendency to decay more so than with implants.
Whether you choose a bridge or implant, you should never neglect your oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist will keep your replacement teeth looking like new!
Fill that gap!
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s La Mesa location today! Our highly trained dentists can check your teeth and help you explore your dental options like implants and bridges. Don’t live near our La Mesa, CA office? Find one of our other locations near you.
La Mesa, CA
8555 Fletcher Parkway
La Mesa, CA 91942