If you are missing teeth due to injury or decay, there are several options for replacing them. The two most popular options are dental bridges and dental implants. When you are considering dental bridges vs implants, there are a few things you should know. Understanding the process, and the advantages and disadvantages of each can help you make an informed decision.
Dental Bridges vs Implants: What’s the Difference?
First, it’s helpful to understand the different processes between dental bridges vs implants. A dental bridge uses healthy teeth and artificial teeth to bridge gaps. This might be one tooth, or several. However, if the gap is too large, dental bridges might not be effective, and dentures may be better. To fit dental bridges, the surrounding healthy teeth serve as anchors. These are called abutment teeth. These teeth are fitted with a cap, which is attached to an artificial tooth between them. This way, the gap is filled.
Dental implants don’t rely on neighboring teeth. To fix dental implants, an artificial tooth is surgically implanted into the gums. This way, the artificial tooth acts and feels more like a real tooth. The surgical implant works similarly to teeth roots, keeping the tooth stable and anchored to the jaw. Dental implants might replace a single missing tooth or several.
Dental Bridges vs Implants: Recovery Time
When comparing the recovery time of dental bridges vs implants, dental bridges are generally faster. Since dental bridges don’t require surgery, you can undergo this procedure and recover more quickly. To affix a dental bridge, the bridge must be made and the neighboring teeth need to be capped. If there are no complications or other issues that must be fixed, such as an infection or cavity in the abutment teeth, a dental bridge will probably require only two or three visits. Once the dental bridge is in place, you’ll need to hold off from eating for a few hours, but you can return to your regular routine quickly.
The process for getting dental implants is more involved. Since this requires surgery within the gums, you’ll need anesthesia and more recovery time. This process will take more appointments, with healing time in between. When the dental implant is placed, you’ll need time to heal before you can get a permanent cap. During this time, the jawbone fuses with the implant, so it acts like a tooth root. Once this healing stage is complete, your dentist or orthodontist will fix the artificial tooth.
Dental Bridges vs Implants: How Much Do They Cost?
Dental care costs vary depending on a variety of factors, including your office’s overhead costs, location, anesthesia, pain mediation, and the complexity of the procedure. There are also different types of bridges, and which is right for you will depend on the state of your teeth. The cost of dental bridges can range between $1500 and $5000. If there are no complications, such as the need for a bone graft to strengthen your jawbone, a dental implant procedure can cost between $2,500 and $5,000 per tooth.
Which Is Right For Me?
To find which is the right option for you, consider multiple factors of dental bridges vs implants. Talk to your dentist about your options as well. Your dentist can answer more specific questions about your situation, such as the state of your teeth and any complications you might have. To start, keep the following in mind:
- How many teeth are missing? If you have multiple teeth missing in one area, a dental bridge may be better. However, if you’re only missing one tooth, a dental implant is a more stable solution.
- Are you comfortable with surgery? If you’re not ready for surgery and recovery time, dental bridges may be better for you.
- Are your surrounding teeth healthy? If the surrounding teeth can’t support a bridge, a dental implant may be a better option.
- Consider jawbone stability. A dental implant bonds with your jawbone, so it behaves just like a regular tooth. A dental bridge doesn’t, so your jawbone will start to weaken and lose density over time, since that part of the bone isn’t receiving normal chewing pressure.
- Will you need a bone graft? If your jaw bone is weak, you’ll need a bone graft for a dental implant to be successful. In this case, a dental bridge may be a better option.
Now that you know the basics of dental bridges vs implants, talk to your dentist. With a better understanding of the state of your teeth, your needs, and your budget, your dentist can help you make a more informed decision.