A Bridge vs Dental Implants: What is the Difference?

After losing a tooth, or several teeth, you have several replacement options. Two of these options are fixed. Unlike dentures, partials and flippers, a fixed dental restoration remains in the mouth, indefinitely. The two standard fixed restoration options are dental implants and dental bridges. If you are considering a fixed restoration, knowing the differences between these two options can help you determine which one is best for you.

A Bridge vs Dental Implants: What is the Difference?

Both of these restoration options can look natural because each is created using custom-designed, porcelain-covered crowns. Nonetheless, there are several differences between these two restoration options.

How Each is Anchored

One of the key differences between these two options is the way they are anchored within the mouth.

Dental bridges are anchored by crowns placed over the natural teeth that sit adjacent to the gap. The existing gap is filled by a dental crown/crowns (i.e., pontic/pontics) that is attached to the bridge. One drawback to a bridge is the need to crown the anchor teeth because in order to apply a crown, the natural tooth must sustain some degree of damage.

Dental implants have a metal anchor, which essentially serves as the ‘root’ of the prosthesis. Just like natural teeth, dental implants are anchored into place by the jawbone. Furthermore, no other natural teeth need to be damaged to accomplish this restoration option.

Limitations on Resembling a Natural Tooth

Since a bridge essentially rests on the gum, there is a gap between the two. This gap can trap food and affect how natural the restoration looks. Another factor affecting the natural appearance of a dental bridge is the fact that the teeth are connected, which can be obvious.

A dental implant is attached to the jawbone; therefore, it sits flush, eliminating concerns related to a visible gap and food entrapment. That said, there are occasions when the metal anchor used for an implant appears as a dark spot beneath the gum.

Restoration Longevity

Both dental implants and dental bridges offer longevity, however, since a bridge is attached to natural teeth, as time passes, these teeth may decay. In addition, the jawbone adjacent to the replacement prosthesis is not stimulated, therefore, deterioration is likely, therefore, a bridge usually lasts from five to 15 years.

Dental implants do stimulate the jawbone, which prevents bone loss due to resorption. The anchors of dental implants are made of titanium, which is a metal that actually fuses with the jawbone. In addition, the abutment heads holding the visible crowns are designed to securely hold the prosthesis in place. Furthermore, since these abutment heads are metal, they will not decay, thus, dental implants can last a lifetime.

If you have a missing tooth/teeth that you would like to replace, contact our Sarasota, Florida, office today at 941-926-4888 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kenneth Schweizer. He is an experienced cosmetic, implant and restorative dentist dedicated to helping people improve their smiles.

 

Implant Aftercare — Everything You Need to Know

Dental implants provide an excellent alternative to conventional dentures. However, patients sometimes make the mistake of thinking that because prosthetic teeth themselves don’t suffer from tooth decay like their natural counterparts, it’s safe to dial back on oral hygiene practices. It’s important for those who have implants installed to understand that best oral hygiene practices play a significant role in determining how long implants will last and even their overall success rate. Here’s what you need to know about taking care of your implants:

Use a Non-Abrasive Toothpaste

Because materials used to manufacture prosthetic teeth aren’t quite as hard as natural tooth enamel, so you’ll want to use a non-abrasive toothpaste that’s formulated for use on prosthetic teeth to keep them from getting scratched. You can also purchase unwaxed dental floss for use on implants. Your dentist may also recommend that you use an oral irrigation system.

Use a Soft-Bristled Brush

Using a soft-bristled brush serves the same purpose as brushing with a low-abrasive toothpaste — it will help keep your prosthetic teeth from becoming unnecessarily scratched. To thoroughly clean hard-to-reach places, use a nylon-coated interdental brush.

Use an Antibacterial Rinse After Brushing and Flossing

Plaque buildup is the number one culprit when it comes to causing gum disease, and it occurs just as easily on prosthetic teeth as it does on natural ones, which is why it’s essential to continue practicing impeccable oral hygiene. The leading cause of gum disease is bacterial buildup in the mouth, so keep this to a minimum by using an antibacterial mouthwash after you finish brushing and flossing.

Avoid Hard Foods

Biting down on hard foods can damage prosthetic teeth, so avoid eating items such as hard candies and nuts. You should also avoid chewing on pencils and other items. These are often nervous habits that people engage in without even thinking about, so you may need to make a conscious effort not to do this.

See Your Dentist Every Six Months

Preventive dentistry is an essential component of making sure your implants last as long as possible — and with the proper care, implants can easily last the rest of your natural life.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at your convenience to schedule an appointment or for more information on keeping your smile healthy and beautiful.

What To Know About Peri-Implantitis

If you’re missing a tooth, you are probably considering options to replace the missing tooth, such as a dental implant. While dental implants are the most durable tooth-replacement option, they still can have complications, such as peri-implantitits. If you are considering getting an implant or you already have an implant, use this guide to learn more about this potential complication.

What Is Peri-Implantitis?

After you get an implant, the crown and titanium root will be invulnerable to decay, but your gums and jawbone can still be negatively impacted. When infection attacks the gums around the implant, they become inflamed, causing peri-implant mucositis. At this stage, only the gums are affected. Treatment is usually successful if caught at this stage.

If the problem continues, however, the inflammation reaches the bone supporting the dental implant’s titanium root. This causes the implant to lose stability and be more likely to fail. At this point, the symptoms will not reverse on their own because your body will not naturally regrow gum tissue or bone tissue.

What Causes It to Occur?

As with many conditions, there is no single cause for peri-implantitits, but there are many risk factors, which may increase your chances. In fact, peri-implantitis is so common that more than 28 percent of patients with dental implants develop this inflammation.

You can help avoid it by continuing good oral hygiene to avoid gum disease. If you smoke, quit now. The chemicals in tobacco restrict blood flow, and the area around the implant needs lots of fresh, healthy oxygenated blood. Certain medical conditions that affect healing and blood flow can also increase your risk. Unfortunately, some patients are simply genetically sensitive to the condition.

What Are the Symptoms?

Advanced peri-implantitis presents with severe symptoms, but at first, you may hardly notice any. Look for bleeding, tender, and red gums around the implant. In some cases, you may not notice the tenderness or bleeding unless you apply pressure to the gums such as from flossing or brushing. Some patients may even see, taste, or smell pus inside the mouth from the infection.

As the condition worsens, you may notice your implant begins to move a little, which can also cause pain. If the condition causes the gums to recede, you may begin to see the titanium root or bone loss. If the symptoms are still minimal, they may reverse on their own, but most likely, you’ll need professional treatments to reverse the effects.

What Treatments Are Available?

The first step is to fight the infection and inflammation. Your dentist will help with this by performing deep cleanings and providing special antibiotics. If you have any condition that affects your oral health, such as diabetes, you will also need to seek treatment for those. However, if you already have peri-implantitis, more advanced treatments are needed.

While non-surgical treatments like laser and air abrasive systems are available, they don’t seem to work well. This leaves surgery as the only choice for many patients. If bone and gum tissue has been lost, you may need grafts, and depending on the extent of the damage, the implant may need to be removed and replaced.

Dental implants are one of the best ways to replace missing teeth because they are so durable and may even last for the rest of your life. However, unless you take great care of your teeth and gums after treatment, problems can arise.

Peri-implantitis causes a lot of pain and wasted money. If you would like to know more about peri-implantitits or dental implants in general, contact us at Kenneth M. Schweizer, DDS, PA today.

Dentures Or Dental Implants? The Right Tooth Replacement Options For You

Adult tooth loss can be frustrating, inconvenient, and even embarrassing. However, if you have missing teeth, you are not alone. The American College of Prosthodontists reports that 178 million adults in the United States have at least one missing tooth, while an estimated 40 million have lost all their teeth.

Luckily, modern dental technologies allow dentists to offer you multiple options for tooth replacement so you can pick the right technique for your smile. In this blog, we compare characteristics of dentures and dental implants to give you a better idea of which solution you may prefer.

Appearance

Some patients assume that dental implants offer a better-looking smile, but this idea doesn’t always hold true. While dental implants can appear almost identical to the color and shape of your other teeth, modern dentures look more natural than ever before. Additionally, dentures do more to reduce the “collapsed” look of the cheek and chin found in some patients with many missing teeth than dental implants do.

Both options can fill the gap of a missing tooth and offer an aesthetically pleasing replacement.

Compatibility

Often, the choice between dentures and dental implants comes down to the health of your jaw bone and oral tissues. Dentures can accommodate a much wider range of oral health symptoms and can even help conceal some of the issues that might disqualify a patient from receiving dental implants.

In order to be a candidate for dental implants, you must have adequate jaw bone density for each implant to anchor to. You must also exhibit good general health because the implant process can take a significant amount of time and may expose individuals with weak immune systems to a high risk of infection.

Dentures, on the other hand, require healthy gum tissues but do not necessarily need jaw bone strength to be fitted and worn comfortably.

Cost

When you invest in tooth replacement, you’re safeguarding your ability to smile, eat, and speak normally. Any tooth replacement option comes at a cost. The primary difference between the cost of dentures and dental implants is that more insurance companies are willing to cover most or all of the cost of dentures.

While some insurance companies will cover a portion of the cost for dental implants, many do not cover any of the expense. Because of this difference in coverage, dentures are often a more cost-effective option for patients with extensive tooth loss and implants may be more affordable for individuals with only one or two missing teeth.

Durability

When it comes to durability, dental implants last longer. With proper care, high-quality implants can last for the rest of your life. Even if the visible crown portion of the implant becomes damaged, it’s unlikely that your dentist will ever need to do work on the anchor portion of the implant.

Dentures generally last between five and eight years. Often, dentures need replacement, not because of the damage the appliance sustains, but rather due to changes in the shape and health of the patient’s oral tissues.

Functionality

Typically, dental implants provide a more secure eating surface than dentures do. Because implants are placed permanently, they shift less often and less dramatically than dentures can.

However, patients with high-quality dentures can use them for most of the activities that they would use natural teeth for. Patients may need to try multiple adhesives or have the fit of their dentures adjusted to improve functionality while they wear dentures.

In both cases, patients should be wary of particularly hard or sticky foods. These foods could damage the surface of the false teeth or encourage tooth decay in the patient’s remaining natural teeth.

Scalability

As discussed in the cost section, dentures are often preferred for patients with many missing teeth and dental implants for individuals who are only missing a few. However, both tooth replacement options can be used to replace any number of missing teeth.

If you prefer dentures but only have one or two gaps, you’ll be fitted with a partial denture. Partial dentures consist of high-quality false teeth attached to a base that fits over the roof or floor of the mouth. Partial dentures are similar to retainers used by orthodontists to keep teeth aligned after treatment with braces.

If you prefer dental implants and have a large amount of tooth loss, the initial process may take longer, but the final result is essentially the same as placing a single dental implant.

As you consider your tooth replacement options, consult with your dentist. While you can identify some factors in this decision, you’ll need an oral health care professional’s insight to determine whether you’re a good candidate for your chosen tooth replacement option.

Schedule an appointment at the practice of Dr. Kenneth Schweizer today to talk about how dentures or dental implants could restore your smile.