What’s the best way to replace a missing tooth: dental bridges or dental implants?
So you’ve joined the club of millions of Americans who have lost at least one tooth to accident or dental disease. While membership in this hardly exclusive club is something nobody really wants, were here to tell you that you have options in tooth replacement. You don’t have to live with a gap in your smile.
The most common ways to replace a single missing tooth are dental bridges and dental implants. Your dentist will help you decide which option is best for you. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions to assist you in making an informed decision when it comes to replacing your missing tooth.
How dental bridges work
A dental bridge is a prosthesis that, as the name suggests, bridges the gap a missing tooth left behind. A bridge typically consists of two crowns that are placed on healthy teeth on either side of the gap (abutment teeth), with an artificial tooth secured in-between.
The abutment teeth serve as anchors for the artificial tooth, and a traditional bridge typically requires healthy teeth on both sides of the gap to properly secure the artificial tooth between them. While there is a type of bridge for which only a single healthy tooth on one side of the gap is necessary to anchor the artificial tooth, this version (called cantilever bridge) is not recommended for molars because it may not be able to handle chewing forces.
A third type of bridge – called a Maryland bonded bridge – attaches the artificial tooth to the neighboring healthy teeth via metal wires or porcelain “wings” instead of crowns. This type of bridge may also include a framework of artificial gums.
It is important to note that dental bridges are not embedded into the patient’s gums or jaw bone, but rather lay on top of the patient’s natural gums.
How dental implants work
Unlike dental bridges, dental implants are permanently fused to the jaw bone through the insertion of a titanium “screw” (the actual implant). Dental implants essentially function like a root would to anchor a natural tooth. The screw is typically made of titanium and topped by a porcelain crown.
Dental implants vs. dental bridges
Dental implants set the gold standard in modern dentistry and are typically considered the best available tooth replacement option.
The advantages of implants include:
- Dental implants look completely natural; they are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth – laugh with confidence
- They feel completely natural, too — speak with confidence
- And, they function just like natural teeth do; enjoy nuts and chewing gum, popcorn and corn on the cob or any other favorite treat – eat with confidence!
- Dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care
- Professional maintenance of dental implants is super easy, because there really isn’t any! No adjustment needed. Just see your dentist for periodic checkups like you normally would.
- At-home care is easy, too: just floss and brush as usual
- Dental implants help support a healthy jaw by preventing bone loss
- Can be done in a single day for eligible patients
Both dental bridges and dental implants restore the patient’s chewing function and physical appearance. Dental bridges, too, can look and feel very natural (depending on the materials chosen) but have the drawback of lacking some of the durability of dental implants. In dental implants, the crown is fully supported by a titanium screw; in dental bridges, on the other hand, the crown merely sits on top of the gums with adjacent teeth serving as its support structure. In addition, dental implants help keep your jaw bone healthy while dental bridges do not.
Missing more than a single tooth?
Patients who are missing multiple teeth may use bridges and implants separately or in conjunction. Dental bridges can be fashioned to bridge two adjacent missing teeth with two artificial teeth.
As for dental implants, a single implant can support multiple crowns, or a quartet of implants can accommodate a full arch of artificial teeth. This treatment is called All-on-4 permanent dentures, or All-on-4 dental implants.
Of course, partial or full dentures of the traditional kind are always an option as well for patients who are missing multiple teeth.
Why choose Summit Dental Center for your dental implant or dental bridge?
Summit Dental Center is your Houston dentist for replacing missing teeth. Here’s why:
- Experienced prosthodontists (specialized tooth replacement dentists) on staff
- 7 Houston-area locations (including Pasadena, TX)
- Dental financing with affordable payment plans available – no credit check!
- Extended evening and Saturday appointments available
- Latest technology in implant dentistry
- Full range of sedation options – from laughing gas and oral sedation to general anesthesia
- Same-day dental implants for eligible patients
- Outstanding customer service
- Support your local business: privately and locally owned/operated
Worried about the cost of tooth replacement?
Summit Dental Center offers affordable dental financing so you can smile now and pay later. In most cases, no down payment is required and we don’t even perform a credit check!
Dental implants and dental bridges are both excellent options for tooth replacement. Talk to a Summit Dental Center dentist today and find out which solution is right for you. Call 713-425-0450 to schedule an appointment!