Tooth implant or bridge? This is a dilemma which faces many people after they’ve lost a tooth. Deciding on which option is best entails reflecting upon a number of factors, which range from aesthetic appeal to bridge or dental implant pricing and from durability to ease of maintenance.
The Implications of Differences in Design
With respect to fitting a tooth implant, the first step involves embedding a titanium post in the patient’s jaw. This titanium post essentially serves as a substitute tooth root and, once the bone grows around the embedded device, will eventually be connected to a false tooth. A bridge, on the other hand, is designed to suspend a false tooth between 2 crowns, which have been cemented onto adjoining abutment teeth.
As a result of their differing design paradigms, a tooth implant places substantially less strain on adjoining teeth than a bridge does. Moreover, the fact that a tooth implant is designed to be embedded directly into the jaw, rather than hover over it as a bridge does, promotes stimulation of the jaw and as a result, can help prevent the jaw bone from deteriorating over time.
The aesthetic drawbacks associated with a bridge arise from the fact that the device is not directly embedded into the gum. As a result, a bridge can be somewhat more conspicuous than an implant. Indeed, this is particularly true in cases where the missing tooth is located towards the front of the mouth.
On the other hand, if the missing tooth is in fact located at the back of the mouth, aesthetic considerations may be of reduced significance.
Inserting an implant is a time-consuming process, which entails multiple procedures undertaken over the course of several months. Fitting a bridge, meanwhile, is a comparatively quick process, which in the vast majority of cases takes only a few weeks to complete.
While fitting a bridge is initially the cheaper option of the two, that’s not to say that it necessarily represents better long term value. Whereas an implant can safely be expected to last a lifetime, a bridge will typically need to be replaced within 10 years of originally being fitted.
A bridge’s design creates significant challenges for both brushing and flossing. As a result, it’s much more straightforward to maintain good oral hygiene with a tooth implant.
Making the Decision
So, tooth implant or bridge, which one is it? To make an informed decision the best course of action is to consult with a dentist. A dentist can help weigh up all the salient considerations and ensure that the most appropriate option, given the circumstances, is chosen.