Dental work can be confusing. Sometimes, it’s hard to know which choice is the best one for you. Of course, your dentist is the best source of information for this, but sometimes it comes down to a decision that only you can make. This article will discuss dental bridges and dental implants in detail and serve as a basic guide to help you better understand each one.
Implanted Tooth or Dental Bridge: What’s the Difference?
A bridge is an appliance that covers the space left by a missing tooth or teeth. It bridges the gap, hence the name. It’s composed of laboratory-made teeth, constructed from an impression, that attach to the two healthy teeth on either side of the gap. They are not removable. A bridge can be completed in two or three visits, at most.
In contrast, implants are false teeth that are attached to a post surgically placed into the jawbone and can be a great option as a form of restoration.
This post is often made of titanium, a strong, inert metal unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. Over a time period of at least several months, the titanium post becomes integrated into the bone tissue of the jaw. It acts very much like a natural tooth root would. Once the post is securely meshed with the bone, a permanent tooth will be attached to the post. It looks and functions very much like real one.
All on 4 Dental Implants
This is a newer procedure in which a whole upper or lower arch of missing teeth can be replaced with just four to six implants. The dentist inserts a titanium post into the jawbone, usually at an angle designed to provide the most support, in four to six places. After these posts become part of the jawbone, an arch of teeth is placed over them. This eliminates the need for individual implanted posts and is typically far less time-consuming and expensive.
Teeth in a Day is a similar procedure. This allows selected patients the ability to have their implanted post procedure and teeth in one day. Not everyone will be a candidate, but for those who are, a temporary set of teeth will be placed over the implanted posts the same day. While the implanted posts are integrating with the jawbone, the patient must follow a soft diet to avoid disrupting them. After the healing period, new impressions are taken, and the permanent teeth are attached to the posts. Implants provide both excellent cosmetic and functional results.
The guideline qualifications for implants include:
- Healthy gums
- Enough bone tissue for either implantation or bone grafts
- You are a nonsmoker
The jawbone must have reached full growth. This typically occurs sometime in the late teens to the early twenties. You will also be questioned about certain chronic diseases that may interfere with healing. For example, diabetes, especially if it’s poorly controlled, may exclude you from getting implants due to concerns about proper healing. If the bone doesn’t heal correctly, the implant will likely fail.
Some thing to be aware of…
While there are no real cons of this procedure, there are possible complications:
- Nerve damage
- Implant failure
- Problems with the sinus cavity
Although rare, allergic reactions are always possible. The pros of this procedure include a natural look and feel, greater self-confidence and possibly better nutrition, because the implanted teeth function and chew much like natural ones. Other major pros: With proper care, they can last a lifetime, and an implanted tooth cannot decay. Your text to link….
Dental bridges are an older solution to the problem of missing teeth. This is much more than just cosmetic. Missing teeth can cause the following problems:
- Shifting of adjacent teeth
- Increased risk of infections
- Difficulty chewing food
- Problems with occlusion
- Headaches and jaw pain
- Uneven wearing of tooth surfaces
- Loss of adjacent and nearby teeth
Teeth are kind of like herd animals. They like to be together. They each serve as supports for the others. When one or teeth are missing, the other teeth no longer have their support and begin to shift out of place. Some may even loosen in the jawbone. The occlusion, or bite, may become abnormal. The exposed gum area is more prone to irritation and infection.
Bridges help to avoid these problems by replacing the missing teeth. However, not everyone is a candidate for this procedure. For one thing, there must be healthy teeth on either side of the gap. For example, if one is already a crown, a bridge is not an option. Another one of the major cons of bridgework is that the healthy teeth that serve as attachment points must be shaped and prepared. This preparation weakens the healthy teeth and may contribute to problems in the future. The anchoring teeth on either side of the gap are called abutting teeth. These abutting teeth will be more prone to decay. They can also fracture or crack, threatening the whole bridge. Cracked teeth typically can only be repaired with a crown. Obviously, a bridge cannot be used if one of the missing teeth is a back molar at the end of the arch.
The Maryland Bridge
This is a type of dental bridge that doesn’t involve shaping and preparation of abutting teeth. Instead, it uses a metal connector attached to abutting teeth with dental cement. It can last a decade or more with proper care, but the Maryland bridge is limited to the frontal teeth. Biting forces in the molar area are too strong for this kind of appliance to withstand.
Pros of Dental Bridges
- They cost less
- The don’t involve bone grafts
- The overall process is faster
- They are still much better than dentures
If you have questions or concerns about either of the dental procedures discussed in this article, consult with your dentist. He or she is the best judge of what is best for you.