When it comes to your facial appearance, outside of a black eye there’s not a whole lot more that can negatively affect your appearance than a missing adult tooth.
For that reason, dental technology has pioneered a variety of solutions focused on restoring your smile to its former glory.
While traditional dental bridges rely on the surrounding teeth for support, dental implants are the sole dental restoration that actually copies the way natural teeth work, with bio compatible titanium posts that naturally fuse with the jawbone to effectively replace the tooth’s root system.
One of the most popular methods to accomplish this for a single missing tooth or a small group of missing teeth is the dental bridge, which quite literally bridges the gap between healthy teeth and a missing tooth (or teeth).
Before undergoing dental bridge treatment, patients will generally choose either a traditional dental bridge – which is supported by teeth that have been crowned on either side of the missing tooth, or a dental implant supported bridge.
Implant supported bridge: pros and cons
Many times, patients prefer implant supported bridges, purely due to the fact that their “pros” tend to outweigh their “cons”. Let’s take a look…
Pros: Implant supported bridges provide a more stable and secure tooth replacement, without impacting the health or stability of the surrounding teeth. On top of this, because a dental implant replaces the tooth’s root system, it will function and feel a lot like a natural tooth. Finally, an implant supported bridge continues to stimulate the jaw bone, which prevents bone loss associated with other dental replacements when the jawbone deteriorates due to disuse and atrophy.
Cons: When it comes to the drawbacks associated with implant supported bridges, it really boils down to cost and time.
Implants can take up to a year to be fully complete, meaning multiple procedures and up to a year of “being careful “before your implant truly has the strength and functionality of one of your natural teeth. Because of this, implant supported dentures often cost significantly more than traditional bridges. However, implant supported bridges will also last longer – making them a better investment for many patients.
Traditional dental bridge: Pros and cons
Traditional crown supported bridges come with their own set of pros and cons, which also have a lot to do with time and cost (but in a different way)
Pros: the most frequently cited advantage when it comes to traditional bridges is the fact that they can be installed completely in just a couple visits to the dentist. On top of this, bridges are the most affordable option for replacing a tooth.
Cons: While crown supported bridges are still incredibly stable and secure, they will never be as secure as an implant supported bridge. On top of this, because a traditional bridge does not engage the jawbone, it can slowly atrophy over time– which can result in the potential alteration of facial structure over time.
In the end, both solutions are effective, stable, and will provide the aesthetic improvement the patient is hoping for. Ultimately, a patient should only make a choice after thorough consultation with their dentist to discern what treatment they are a candidate for and what will be the best investment.