What's Best: an Implant or a Bridge?

What's Best: an Implant or a Bridge?

If you have missing teeth, you’re among the 120 million Americans who’ve lost at least one tooth. Missing teeth don’t only make you self-conscious when you smile or laugh, but they also make eating normally a challenge. 

And over time, missing teeth lead to an increased risk of significant complications, including:

The good news is that dental restoration experts, like Robert F. Wilcox, DMD, offer different solutions for missing teeth, helping restore function to your mouth so you can eat, smile, and laugh without trouble or embarrassment. 

The best way to learn which is the right choice for you is to schedule an evaluation with a dental restoration expert. In the meantime, keep reading to learn more about your options to help you decide whether a bridge or an implant is best for you. 

What are dental bridges? 

Dental bridges connect one or more replacement teeth between two of your natural, permanent teeth. A bridge is usually made by placing crowns on either side of your missing teeth to provide support, then cementing the false tooth to the crowns to hold them in place.

Dentists have used bridges for decades to address missing teeth, and different types of bridges exist. The right type of bridge for you depends on multiple factors, including the location of your missing teeth. 

On the pros side, dental bridges:

On the cons side, dental bridges:

Keep in mind that these are generalizations; Dr. Wilcox evaluates each patient on a case-by-case basis. 

What are dental implants?

When we talk about dental implants, we’re usually referring to two separate pieces: the post and prosthetic cap. To place implants, Dr. Wilcox uses a screw-like post made from biocompatible metal, like titanium, to create a new dental root.

He implants this post into your jawbone. As your jaw heals, the post fuses with your bone. This enables it to work like your natural dental roots. After the post fully fuses with your jawbone, Dr. Wilcox tops the post with a prosthetic cap, like a crown.

With the post and cap in place, your implant works just like your natural teeth. This means you can eat, smile, laugh, and talk without worry or embarrassment. 

On the pros side, dental implants:

On the cons side, dental implants:

As with bridges, each patient needs an individual evaluation to determine if implants are a good option. 

Are dental bridges or implants a better choice?

When determining the right restoration procedure for you, Dr. Wilcox evaluates your teeth, gums, and jaws, then discusses your options with you to create a personalized treatment plan. While you wait for your appointment, here are some factors to consider:

Time to complete

Getting a dental implant takes several months. After getting the post, you need to wait 2-6 months for the bone to heal before getting the prosthetic cap. 

Dental bridge work takes just a few weeks. But with a dental bridge, you need to have the device replaced more frequently. In addition, your bridge may fail if the cement deteriorates or the teeth surrounding your bridge decay.

Insurance and cost

Dental implants are less likely to be covered by dental insurance than a bridge. Because the upfront cost of dental implants is greater, dental bridges can be a more affordable option.

Your overall health

Dental implants involve surgically drilling into your jawbone, so they’re not always an option if you have health conditions that affect your healing time, such as diabetes. Candidates for implants should be in good health and have enough jawbone to support the implant post.

Do you have more questions about which is best, dental implants or bridges? Call our office in Butte, Montana, to schedule a consultation.

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