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Sometimes, patients will come to see us at Imperial Dental Center and aren’t sure what is the best choice, a dental implant or a dental bridge. Thanks to advancements in technology, patients who’ve lost one or several teeth or who just need a tooth pulled now have more options than before. It’s, therefore, advisable that you consider all the factors to settle for an option that suitably addresses your situation.
The more conventional restorative dental bridge normally involves the grinding down of adjacent teeth and using them as an anchor. This process leads to the creation of a three-tooth bridge.
Dental implants, on the other hand, only involve the one tooth. These implants are pretty much like crowns. While crowns use the original root as a base for a cap, with implants, an artificial root is created to serve as the crown’s foundation.
Implants are made up of three parts. The implant itself is usually a titanium post that’s screwed into the jaw of the patient. The adjacent tissues that surround the jawbone grow around the titanium post to create a base for the crown. Once the post has been set, an abutment is placed over it to protect the gum line as it grows. Finally, a permanent crown is attached to the abutment.
Since dental implants require surgery, there’s a greater chance of complications. One of the problems that could arise is an infection at the site. The surgical procedure or infection could also affect surrounding teeth. Furthermore, there are chances of permanent nerve damage that could leave your mouth numb. Implants placed on the upper portion of the mouth could also leave you at risk of developing unexpected sinus problems. Nevertheless, this risk is quite rare nowadays.
Implants placed on the lower jaw have a higher risk of nerve ending damage. As a result, lower jaw implant surgeries usually take much longer, and the associated costs are generally much higher. Because of the risks lower jaw implants present, such as the possibility of a numb chin, a lot of people tend to opt out of this option. Additional implant surgery risks include failing bone grafts (for much larger implant procedures) and the jaw bone failing to bond with the implant.
Dental bridge risks are usually minimal; however, a dental bridge could still collapse if the supporting teeth aren’t healthy enough or strong enough. At the same time, ill-fitting bridges could also result in the decay of the teeth underneath.
It usually takes longer for implants to heal, with time ranging anywhere from 2-months to 11-months (for bone graft cases). However, the most straightforward implants should take about a month to recover. As for traditional dental bridges, patients should expect to be completely healed in two to three weeks. Nevertheless, the healing period will vary from person to person and should one of the main things to consider before having any procedure performed.
Dental implants are usually rather costly and are generally not covered by insurance – and if covered, their coverage rate tends to be low. Bridges, which are the more traditional option, are by and large well covered by insurance. The costliest part of implants is the crown and not the implant itself. And while implants may seem a bit expensive initially, in the long run, they aren’t. Please note that you will have to change a bridge every 5 to 10 years, but a well-kept implant could last for up to 40-years.
Are You A Suitable Candidate?
For some people, the decision on whether to get an implant or bridge is strictly based on what options their current health allows. While bridges seem to work just fine for almost everyone, provided the surrounding teeth are healthy, and in good condition, dental implants have many more health benefits.
Children aren’t good candidates for implants since their jawbones haven’t yet reached maturity. People with weakened immune systems or who smoke aren’t considered to be good implant candidates. People with diabetes are also considered to be unsafe candidates when it comes to implants. Therefore, the best viable patients for implants are those with healthy jawbones capable of supporting an implant and whose teeth adjacent to the implant are healthy (a factor that makes a difference in a patient’s long-term oral health).
A patient’s overall oral health history is often considered to determine the best course of action. Patients with oral health issues are generally not good candidates for an implant. Oral surgeons tend to consider how long implants will last given their patient’s history when it comes to oral health. If the patient does not generally take care of their mouth, it’s highly unlikely that an implant will last that long in that environment. The health of the patient’s adjacent teeth is also important. If adjacent teeth have had a root canal, have crowns, or are missing, you would be better off having a dental bridge installed. Good bones are also a crucial health consideration. Healthy bones and a solid oral history will play a pivotal role when it comes to the long-term success of implants.
What is the best choice, an implant or a dental bridge? The answer to this question will depend on your personal circumstances and situation. A lot of people who’ve had implants installed are pleased with the results in the long run. An implant can last very long and does an excellent job at preserving the overall health of all your teeth. Other people will opt for bridges, and for good reasons too, and are usually very happy with the results.
Have any questions? Give us a call today and let us help you determine the best option for you considering your specific circumstances. If you already know which option you want, we can still set you up for a consultation on your option to help you determine if it’s the best for you, oral health wise.