Traditional Bridges vs. Dental Implants: What is the Difference?

People opt to have their teeth replaced for a variety of reasons. Causes such as trauma, cavity, and a tooth that never grew-in in the first place, are some of the reasons you need tooth replacement. When it comes to replacing missing teeth, there are many options. If you are replacing only one tooth or multiple teeth, the main options you think of are traditional bridges and dental implants. Deciding which one to choose primarily rests on your preferences, the dentist’s recommendations, and the cost of the procedures. Visiting Dr. Scott Young, a general dentist in Woodlands, Texas, allows you to understand better which restoration you can receive to replace missing teeth. Before you choose a treatment procedure for missing teeth, it is essential to understand each of them. So what is the difference between dental implants and conventional bridges?

Traditional Bridges

A conventional bridge helps replace a tooth or teeth in a patient’s mouth. A dental bridge supports itself from the adjacent teeth. A dentist prepares or grounds down two or more teeth adjacent to the missing one in anticipation of fitting a crown. One end of the dental bridge is attached to each crown. A false tooth, also known as pontic, is placed in the middle of that bridge. Traditional bridges, were for many years, the preferred standard of care when replacing a missing tooth in situations where a removable denture could not be used. However, today, dental implants are the most preferred restoration for replacing missing teeth. 

Dental Implants

With dental implants, a dentist fixes a titanium screw into the bone. The screw bonds or fuses with the bone permanently. The jawbone grows around the screw through osseointegration. After the implant fuses with the bone, an attachment called an abutment is placed onto the implant. A custom-made crown is then created and cemented onto the implants, similar to a crown on a natural tooth.

Dental Implants vs. Bridges

One question you may have when seeking tooth replacement treatments is whether to choose implants over bridges. There are things to consider when it comes to deciding which one to opt for. Dental implants tend to be permanent or almost permanent. They have a success rate of more than 95 percent. A dentist places them to restore the tooth for a lifetime. 

On the flip side, bridges tend to be challenging to clean. Because they are secured on the adjacent teeth, debris, bacteria, and food particles can lodge underneath the bridge. As a result, you may suffer tooth decay in addition to gum disease. Eventually, you may lose the adjacent teeth. Often, bridges will require replacement. Bridges last about 6 to 10 years, so they are not as permanent as dental implants. 

When it comes to dental implants, you brush and floss them just as you do with regular teeth. Implants look like normal teeth and act like real teeth. So you do not need to take them out when sleeping, as it happens with removable dentures. 

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