Did you know that tooth loss is actually quite common? In fact, according to NCBI “69% of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal or tooth decay.” If you do find yourself in a situation where you’ve lost a tooth, it’s imperative that you find the right tooth replacement solution to keep the rest of your teeth properly aligned. It’s also important to understand your proper tooth replacement options, including a dental bridge and an implant. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between each and why one tooth replacement option may better suit you than the other.
Advantages of Dental Bridges:
- Typically, dental bridges are covered by insurance.
- They generally require a lower upfront cost than dental implants.
- Dental bridges do not require bone grafting and do not always require invasive surgery.
- A dental bridge will usually only take two visits to your dentist over a period of a couple of weeks.
Factors to Consider about Dental Bridges:
- Dental bridges typically need to be replaced more frequently than dental implants, every 5-7 years.
- Over time, they tend to lose a natural-looking appearance.
- You run the risk of getting more cavities and tooth decay with bridges than implants.
- Dental bridges do have the potential to cause damage to the healthy teeth surrounding the missing tooth.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root typically made from titanium. It’s mounted into the jawbone with screws that are designed to hold a crown or bridge in place.
Advantages of Dental Implants:
- They last significantly longer than bridges, and are the longest lasting tooth loss option available.
- Dental implants tend to retain a natural-looking appearance longer than bridges do.
- Dental implants do not damage the healthy teeth surrounding the implant.
Factors to Consider about Dental Implants:
- Dental implants are generally not covered by insurance, and typically cost between $6,000-$7,000 per tooth.
- Implants require a higher upfront cost than bridges.
- The process of getting a dental implant is much longer than a bridge, and can take up to 6 months.
- With a dental implant, you do have to consider the possibility of surgical complications.
How Do I Choose Between a Bridge & an Implant?
The good news is that this decision won’t solely fall on you. Your dentist will advise you on the best tooth replacement option for your situation and will consider the following factors to help make this decision: cost, number of missing teeth, overall health and time.
In addition to dental bridges and dental implants, there are other tooth replacement options. These include: partial dentures and space maintainers. Partial dentures are usually made of plastic or metal and they clip to your healthy teeth to stay in place. They’re not usually the ultimate in comfort or stability and serve as a temporary solution to a bridge or an implant. A space maintainer is commonly used in children, but can be an option for an adult, too. Space maintainers are typically made from metal, and aim to prevent the teeth on either side of your missing tooth from shifting.
As always, feel free to contact us with any questions. We know that tooth loss can be a sensitive subject and we are committed to working with you to find the best tooth replacement solution available!