When it comes to replacing missing teeth, patients are often faced with two primary options: dental bridges and implants.
While both serve the same purpose of restoring your smile and functionality, they differ significantly in terms of cost, durability, maintenance, and overall impact on oral health.
We will explore these differences in detail, ultimately illustrating why dental implants are generally considered superior to dental bridges.
Dental Bridges: Overview and Key Features
A dental bridge consists of one or more false teeth (pontics) held in place by abutments (dental crowns) that are cemented onto the adjacent teeth. Bridges are a quicker solution for replacing missing teeth and require a simpler procedure than implants.
- Dental bridges are typically less expensive upfront than implants.
- The cost can vary depending on the materials used and the number of teeth being replaced.
Durability and Maintenance
- Bridges usually last between 5 to 15 years, depending on the patient’s oral hygiene and regular maintenance.
- They require meticulous cleaning around and under the pontic to prevent decay in the supporting teeth.
- Installation of a bridge involves altering the adjacent healthy teeth, which can lead to long-term issues.
- Bridges do not stimulate bone growth, which can lead to bone loss over time.
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Dental Implants: Overview and Key Features
Dental implants are a more modern solution involving the placement of a titanium post into the jawbone, which acts as a root for the crown. This option is known for its durability and the preservation of bone health.
- Implants are more expensive initially but can be more cost-effective in the long run.
- The cost varies based on the number of implants and any additional procedures like bone grafts.
Durability and Maintenance
- Implants can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.
- They function like natural teeth and are maintained through regular brushing and flossing.
- Implants preserve natural bone and can stimulate bone growth.
- They do not require altering adjacent teeth, thus preserving more of your natural tooth structure.
- The procedure for implants is more invasive and has a longer healing period.
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Comparative Analysis: Bridges vs. Implants
- Long-Term Oral Health: Implants are superior in preserving long-term oral health. Unlike bridges, they do not require the alteration of adjacent teeth and help maintain jawbone density.
- Aesthetics and Functionality: Both bridges and implants provide a natural look, but implants offer a slight edge in terms of functionality, as they act like natural teeth.
- Durability and Cost-Effectiveness: While bridges are less expensive initially, their shorter lifespan and potential for additional dental problems can make them more costly over time. Implants, with their longevity and lower risk of complications, present a more cost-effective solution in the long run.
- Maintenance and Hygiene: Implants are easier to maintain as they can be brushed and flossed like natural teeth. Bridges require more meticulous cleaning to prevent decay in the supporting teeth.
- Bone Health: One of the most significant advantages of implants is their ability to preserve and stimulate natural bone growth, which is critical for maintaining facial structure and oral health.
Dental Implants – A Clear Winner
While both dental bridges and implants have their merits, implants stand out as the superior choice for most patients due to their durability, functionality, and positive impact on overall oral health.
Although the initial cost and procedure may be more intensive, the long-term benefits and cost-effectiveness of implants make them a worthwhile investment.
When considering tooth replacement options, it’s essential to consult with a dental professional to understand which option is best suited for your individual needs and circumstances.
For more information about how Callahan and Klein helps patients in Lakewood CO with dental implants, visit our dental implant page by clicking the button below.