Missing Tooth: Pros And Cons Of Dental Implants And Fixed Bridges

You're missing a tooth, but it's no big deal. Thanks to the great advances in cosmetic dentistry, you have many options to replace missing teeth other than dentures. Two of these options are dental implants and fixed bridges. Check out the advantages and disadvantages of each to see which is right for you.

Dental Implant Pro: Powerful Durability  

Dental implants are the most durable option for missing teeth. The reason behind this is a process called osseointegration. In simple terms, the titanium implant has the ability to fuse to your jawbone. This creates a hold that is just as powerful as natural teeth. In fact, with proper care, a dental implant can last you the rest of your life.

Dental Implant Pro: Function Like Real Teeth

Thanks to this durability, you treat the implant just like a natural tooth. It can withstand all the powerful pressure of daily chewing and wear and tear. It also looks exactly like a real tooth. With a dental implant, your jaw is stimulated, so it doesn't shrink. A bridge, on the other hand, doesn't stimulate your jaw, so the area shrinks, eventually revealing a gap between the tooth and gums.

Dental Implant Con: Come With a High Cost

Dental implants are great, but you pay for all those benefits. The cost for just the titanium implant and the crown on top is about $4250. However, dental implants often come with additional costs, including a bone graft if the jaw has already diminished. If the damaged tooth is still there, you'll also have to pay for an extraction.

Dental Implant Con: Long Procedure Process

Living with a missing tooth is embarrassing, and if you choose to get a dental implant, expect to be without that tooth for quite some time. The implant process includes many stages, and your gum and jaw must heal for months between each stage. For example, you'll have to have your tooth extracted, wait for it to heal, have the implant placed and then wait for it to heal again. If you need a bone graft, expect to wait even longer.  

Fixed Bridge Pro: Less Expensive

Dental bridge are must less expensive than implants. They cost between $500 and $1,200 per artificial tooth. Obviously, the more missing teeth you have, the more the bridge will cost. However, it will still cost less than getting a single or multiple dental implant.

Fixed Bride Pro: Good Results Faster

Bridges create good results for missing teeth that are far better than dentures. Although they aren't as durable as implants you can continue to eat the same foods you are used to. Plus, although the process still takes a few weeks as the bridge is crafted in the lab, it takes significantly less time than an implant, so you get your beautiful smile faster. During that crafting time, you may even wear a temporary bridge.

Fixed Bridge Con: Affect the Surrounding Teeth

Traditional fixed bridges use the teeth surrounding the missing tooth to support the bridge. The bridge is be placed over the two surrounding teeth, allowing the false tooth to fall into the gap. This process requires the dentist to file down your healthy teeth to fit the bridge, forever altering your teeth, so even if you eventually get an implant in the future, those surrounding teeth will still need crowns.

Fixed Bridge Con: Less Durability and Longevity

Because bridges use the surrounding teeth instead of your jaw for support, they eventually wear down. Even daily use puts stress on the bridge, eventually causing it to weaken and requiring replacement. Most bridges only last between 5 and 15 years, so although a bridge saves you money initially, you'll end up spending more to replace it once or several times.  

While dental implants are the most durable and long lasting option, the high cost and long procedure time may not make it right for everyone. For more information about dental implants, fixed bridges and other dental services, contact a cosmetic dentist, like one at Durham Dental Centre, in your area today.