Choosing between a bridge or an implant can seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. By understanding what each has to offer and where it may fall short, you and your Gainesville dentist can decide which approach is best for you. Here’s what you need to know.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge features a false tooth that is suspended between two crowns. The two natural teeth beside the opening and prepared by your dentist, often by being shaved down, and the crowns are cemented to those teeth, allowing the false tooth to sit in the gap.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a false tooth that is attached to a base. The base is made of a strong metal post that is implanted into the jawbone, allowing it to be permanent. Once the post area heals, a false tooth is constructed to fill the gap.
Which is Best?
Which option is best for you depends on your unique situation. In either case, the false tooth is designed to blend in with the surrounding teeth, allowing it to appear natural. Plus, the care requirements are similar, usually with brushing, flossing, and regular trips to the dentist.
In some cases, the location of the missing tooth plays a role. A bridge may look less natural, which is a factor if the opening is near the front of your mouth. Additionally, it must be anchored by a natural tooth on either side, so the approach won’t work if there aren’t two surrounding healthy teeth. Those teeth also have to be prepared to accept the crown, so they can never remain uncovered again.
In contrast, implants have to be placed in healthy jawbone of the proper thickness. If your jawbone is damaged or the spot is too thin, it may not support the post. However, if you have enough support, an implant has no impact on nearby teeth. The post does the heavy-lifting instead.
Dental bridges do tend to be less expensive and are fasting healing, but the crowns can come loose over time, which may make a replacement necessary down the road. Implants are more costly but can last a lifetime with proper care, but it can take three to six months to complete the restoration.
If you want to explore your options thoroughly, it is always best to sit down with your Gainesville dentist and discuss them. They can examine your unique situation and help you find the approach that will restore your smile in the best way possible.