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.
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.