When we have to choose a procedure to fill the gap left by a missing tooth, we are always in a dilemma whether to go with implants or bridges. Though both are fixed procedures, there are many things which differ in them. When people prefer bridges over implants, it’s mostly because of the fear that dental implant involves a surgical procedure. This article highlights the differences between implants and bridges, with their benefits and risks for you to decide on the procedure you want to follow or advice to your loved ones. Keep on reading Dental implants or bridges can be your solution
When there is a single tooth missing from your arch, the gap is filled by an artificial crown. For the support of this crown, dentists have to trim the adjacent tooth and the final unit consists of three crowns; two supporting crowns and a crown filling the gap.
The benefits of bridges include:
A fixed system: You don’t have to worry about removing it while sleeping like removable dentures. There is no hazard of gulping it and biting efficiency of teeth is good.
Pleasing to eyes:
If the unit is in back part of the mouth, not much difference is felt between these artificial teeth and natural teeth by an on looker.
The bridges work for 5- 7 years depending on the person. It is a good option for medium term solution. But you would have to replace them after that time period.
the cost of the bridges is less when compared to implants. It varies on the type of crowns you chose to replace your teeth. Their types available are Zirconium crowns, ceramic and metal ceramic crowns.
Filling large spaces:
Bridges can cover large gaps in the mouth if they are surrounded by healthy teeth on either side.
When there are pros of bridges, there are a lot of cons too:
The crowns of the bridge are fixed to the tooth by means of a cement, by constant brushing and wear and tear, over time this cement starts to dissolve and a gap is developed. Through this gap, oral fluids and drinks begin to penetrate the bridge, leading to sensitivity and caries in the tooth.
The hygiene surrounding bridge is difficult to maintain, it leads to food particles accumulating in the gaps and occurrence of bad breath.
Cavities and loose teeth:
The abutment tooth on which crowns are built for the support of crown covering the gap can develop caries and mobility due to periodontal problems. For replacing one tooth, we are here endangering two teeth.
Extraction and large gaps:
When the support teeth are affected in the bridge, we would have to extract them and thereby the even larger gap is formed in the mouth.
Even if one unit is damaged or broken due to any reason. We would have to replace the whole unit of crowns
The dental implants are the most recommended and used treatment for replacement of teeth these days. Dental implants consist of a titanium screw, which is fixed in the jaw bone, abutment, and a crown. The procedure involves a minor surgery to make the place for the titanium screw in the bone. On this screw, an abutment is placed which is also made of metal. When this is healed, a tooth colored crown, mostly made of Zirconium is fixed on it.
The benefits of dental implants over bridges include:
Dental implants are for lifetime. Once it’s placed in bone, there is no need to worry about it in your future as it becomes a part of your oral cavity. You never have to worry about caries or gum problems to implants or tooth adjacent to it.
No damage to other teeth:
For dental implants, other teeth are not utilized in any way, thereby safeguarding their health. Only the space created by the missing teeth is used for fixing an implant in your oral cavity.
The fixed implant looks and feels like natural teeth as it arises from the bone beneath like a natural tooth. Dental implants even function like natural teeth, allowing you to eat all your favorite foods, including hard and soft.
Easy to maintain:
You can brush or floss your dental implant like you do to your other teeth. There is no food buildup or bad breath due to implant.
Dental implants are more predictable than any other procedure carried out to replace or fix natural teeth. There are many studies which back this claim.
Dental implants can be fixed in a person of any age and health. Full mouth dentures based on dental implants are being done for elderly. People with controlled diabetes or any other medical condition can also go for dental implants without worrying about its consequences. Patients with low bone quality can also go for dental implants as implantologists use graft material for enhancing bone width and density. The types of implant procedures include:
- All on 4 dental implants
- Single implants
- Conventional implants
- Implants supported bridges
- Three-day implants.
Dental implant procedures are done by giving a local anesthesia to numb the tissues and bone surrounding the surgical area. Most of the patients feel the little discomfort while undergoing the procedure and the after effects can be subdued by over the counter medication prescribed by the dentist.
Accepted by tissue:
The titanium metal is the core metal in the implant screw. It is the most biocompatible material available in the world. It is even used for hearing aids, pace maker, knee replacement etc. It becomes a part of the bone and leaves no gap in itself and the tissues. The gums grow surrounding the implant. Once the dental implant is completely healed, you can chew it as you chew with other natural teeth without worrying about it breaking.
There are many other benefits of dental implants over bridges, but moving on to the risks we need to be informed of:
Surgical procedure: even if it’s a minor one, surgery involves removing a bit of bone for making space for titanium screw and it cannot be performed in a patient with highly uncontrollable diabetes. The sugar level needs to be in control for the procedure to be carried out. There can be swelling and a mild pain in the area for two to three days after the surgery. Once it is subsidized, then there will be no discomfort.
It is costly than a bridge but with a long term view, dental implants are the most cost effective treatment as they are for life time and no other tooth are used for this procedure . Hence, no more money is needed for treating the damaged teeth.
Loosening of implant:
it is a rare phenomenon. The bone surrounding implant becomes swollen and implant doesn’t get attached to it leading to loosening and moving of the implant at the site. This is easily managed by the dentist and the implant is re- attached to the bone.
These are the benefits and risks of both dental implants and bridges for the reader to make an informed decision but as a dentist I would prefer dental implant as it is a long term solution with no major risks involved.