So you’ve got a missing tooth and need a replacement. Okay, so you have two options – install a dental bridge or fit a dental implant. But how do you know which one is right for you? Let’s take a closer look at the dental bridge vs implant debate and weigh up those all-important pros and cons.
Firstly dental bridges
Conventional dental bridges have been around in one form or another for thousands of years. In fact the ancient Etruscans used to deliberately remove some of their teeth so that they could ‘bridge’ the gap with gold, thus showing off their wealth and status. Nowadays, thankfully there are other less painful ways that people can flash their cash and instead, dental bridges offer a good aesthetic way of replacing missing teeth and restoring a smile.
So how do they work?
Conventional dental bridges utilise a framework which supports the prosthetic dental crown. This framework is then attached to healthy teeth either side of the gap where the new crown spans or ‘bridges’ the area completing the smile. In order for the adjacent teeth to accommodate the framework they need to be re-shaped. This is usually done under a local anaesthetic in one sitting. Finally once the framework is fitted, the newly shaped teeth are then capped with crowns to protect them.
On the upside, it’s a simple process which can be completed in 2-3 short visits and is often half the cost of an implant. For a fraction of the price, you can have a fully restored, natural looking smile. In addition, for anyone who is anxious about going ‘under the knife’, conventional bridges offer a non-surgical solution.
Now for the cons of dental bridges…
Because the neighbouring teeth need to be altered, you may find that your otherwise healthy teeth are susceptible to problems in the future. Then there’s the cost of replacement. Despite the fact that porcelain or porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns are strong, they have a shelf life of somewhere between 10-15 years. With the right oral care, dental implants have been proven to last for forty years and more, although sometimes, crowns may need replacing. While implants are more expensive to fit initially, you’ll only have to pay once. With conventional bridges however, costs can mount after several replacements.
So yes, bridges are quicker and cheaper to fit as they don’t require extensive surgery but on the flip side, timely replacements mean that costs can soon add up and otherwise healthy adjacent teeth can become compromised.
Now what about Implants?
Unlike a dental bridge, dental implants are anchored directly into the jawbone. After a period of time – usually 2-3 months- any remaining bone tissue fuses with the titanium implant to create a super-strong, self-supporting structure which houses the dental crown. As a result it doesn’t need the assistance of adjacent teeth for any kind of support, so there’s no possibility of compromising other teeth. At the end of the process, the patient is left with a natural-looking, permanent replacement for their ‘gappy’ problem.
So what about tooth implant cons?
The main issue with dental implants is the initial cost. At 2-3 times the price of a dental bridge procedure, it doesn’t come cheap. However if you consider that that’s the ONLY expense you should incur, then as a long-term investment in your oral health, it’s a cost-effective solution.
In addition and typically, a conventional implant procedure can easily take 6-9 months from start to finish – even more so if more healthy bone needs to be grafted into the area – so this is also something you’ll need to take into consideration.
So what’s the dental bridge vs implant outcome?
While both have their pros and cons, patients should consider whether they’re after a less evasive, cost-friendly, shorter term fix, or a hassle-free permanent solution that involves a little surgery time. If you’d like to find out more about how you can solve your ‘gappy’ problem and the options available, then contact Evergreen Dental today on (02) 8074 3849 . Our experienced and friendly team are here to help.