Dental technology has made great strides in the last 30 years, and patients with missing or damaged teeth now have several highly effective treatment options available to them. Among them two of the most popular are dental bridges and dental implants. While dental bridges are the more established and therefore more widely available and less expensive method of replacing missing teeth and restoring your smile, dental implants are rapidly gaining on them in popularity in recent years. But what is the difference between these two tooth replacement options? And which one is the right option for you?
Most dentists including Dr. Dominic Roppa, Dr. Kara Marshall-Roppa of Smile Viera in Viera, FL prefer dental implants for their patients with missing teeth due to their strength, longevity and ease of care. However, numerous factors must be taken into account, including if your tooth loss is recent or happened years ago.
Practical Reasons for Both
In the past, a bridge was really the only choice for replacing one or a few missing teeth. However, a bridge involves more than just the missing tooth. The neighboring teeth on either side of the gap need to have most of their enamel removed in order for the bridge to be placed. With dental implants, your Smile Viera dentist embeds the implant screw directly into the jawbone like the root of a natural tooth, resulting in a tooth that is stronger and permanent.
If the neighboring teeth have numerous fillings or damage from severe tooth decay, a dental bridge may be the preferred option since the crowns that will support the bridge (known as abutments in dental terminology) can repair these damaged teeth while supporting the pontic (replacement tooth). If the missing tooth or teeth were lost some time ago, the gum and bone tissue that once supported them may have eroded and surgeries to strengthen the tissue — such as bone grafts- may be necessary before placement can occur. The advantages and disadvantages to both procedures can ultimately be elaborated on by Dr. Roppa or Marshall-Roppa at a consultation.
Your Oral Care Routine
Routine daily hygiene is easier with an implant due to the nature of dental bridges. Bridges are comprised of at least three crowns permanently connected together to support a crown over the space of the missing tooth. This design can make brushing and flossing around a bridge difficult so those with bridges must be meticulous about cleaning their teeth.
In contrast, dental implants replace missing teeth individually, without affecting other teeth. Therefore, you can brush and floss around an implant just like you would your natural tooth, making oral hygiene much easier and more effective.
Dental implants can last decades longer than dental bridges. This is because the implant screw that makes up the “root” of the implant is made of titanium which is immune to decay. The titanium naturally bonds with your jaw bone tissue in a process called osseointegration. However, you must still properly care for your gums and surrounding teeth or you may still be at risk of implant failure.
The cost of a dental bridge may be less initially but it may cost more in the long run since it will need to be replaced due to wear and tear. At this point, the entire process will need to be completed again. Implants – from preparation to final placement – are more expensive, but since the titanium implant will last for decades if properly maintained, only the crowns on top of it will need replacing and many dental insurance providers will pay for the crown of your implant to be replaced.
Dental Implants in Viera, FL
Either option is better than living with worry about smiling because you’re self-conscious or having difficulty chewing. Although bridges are a more established procedure, dental implants have become more common in recent years, and in most cases are the preferred method of treatment for missing teeth because of their durability and ease of care.
If you are considering dental implants, you should seek out the best implant dentist possible. Dr. Roppa and Dr. Marshall-Roppa of Smile Viera are skilled professionals with over years in practice. For a consultation with Smile Viera about dental implants or any other dental concern, please call (321) 614-3833 or schedule a consultation online today!