A lost tooth requires you to make a crucial decision between using dental bridges and dental implants to restore your smile.
Regardless of whether you lost a tooth due to decay, gum disease, or trauma, you may need to choose between dental bridges and dental implants to prevent further complications. Neglecting to have the missing tooth replaced can cause your jawbone, teeth, and gums to undergo drastic changes that can have a lasting impact on your health. Before a Little Rock dentist upgrades your smile, you will want to consider the following differences between dental bridges vs implants well ahead of time.
While bridges and implants both work to improve the appearance and health of your mouth, they require very different restorative techniques:
- Dental Bridges: Depending on the location of your missing tooth and the condition of your surrounding teeth, your dentist may allow you to choose between three main dental bridge options: traditional, cantilever, and Maryland bonded. Traditional bridges are set in place by filing down and capping the teeth on either side of the missing tooth to secure the replacement. For the cantilever bridge, a dentist will only prepare and cap one tooth to hold the replacement in place. The Maryland bonded bridge uses metal wings to secure the false tooth.
- Dental implants: Unlike bridges, implants are installed independent of your other teeth. If your dentist places the implant immediately after you lose your tooth, they can likely place the anchoring titanium post in your jawbone without worrying about bone restoration procedures. If there is a delay, however, you may need to undergo jawbone or gum restoration to prepare the site for the implant. Over time, your jawbone will grow around the installed implant post, so it permanently acts as a new root for the false tooth.
Whether you choose dental bridges or a dental implant, your Little Rock dentist will take the time to match the replacements to the color, shape, and size of your remaining teeth. When viewed from the front, both bridges and implants are typically indistinguishable from your actual teeth. The wings on Maryland bonded bridges, however, may be visible at the back of the affected teeth if you are yawning or laughing.
Because dental implants are anchored with a post made from extremely strong titanium, this restorative option performs better over time than bridges. A bridge spans a larger gap than an implant, which leaves it susceptible to stress damage over time. With the best of care, bridges usually only last up to 10 years, while implants can last a lifetime.
Dental bridges typically require more meticulous care than implants due to the way the bridges’ caps create extra nooks and crannies around the sides of your teeth. You must carefully work floss between your real teeth and the bridge to remove plaque deposits. If you cannot remove all the plaque manually, you might consider using a water irrigation device that can clean out even the smallest crevices. To keep implants in great condition, you must maintain regular flossing habits and brush twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste.
Scheduling Your Smile Upgrade
If you want to discuss dental bridges and dental implants with a Little Rock dentist, schedule an appointment with Arkansas Family Dental or call us at 501-683-8886 to learn how we can upgrade your smile.