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Dental Implants vs. Bridges: Which is Best?

indianapolis in dentist for dental concerns

There have been major strides in dental technology has advanced in the last 30 years, specifically in the area of tooth replacement. People that are missing teeth now have several great options available to restore their smiles. Dental bridges are the established method of filling the gaps in your smile left by lost teeth while dental implants are a newer method that has begun increasing in popularity in recent years.

But what is the difference between the two methods and which treatment option is right for you? Most dentists including those at Paradox Dental Care in Indianapolis, IN prefer implants due to their strength, longevity and the ease of their care and maintenance. However, there are several factors you need to consider, including if your tooth loss is recent or happened years ago.

Practical Reasons for Both

A bridge was the only choice available choice but they involve more than just the space left by the missing tooth. The adjacent teeth on either side of the gap need to be prepared to act as abutments — supports — for the bridge by having most of their enamel removed. With dental implants, your Paradox dentist embeds the replacement tooth directly into the jawbone resulting in a tooth that is stronger and permanent.

However, a dental bridge may be your best option if the neighboring teeth are already suffering from tooth decay, have large fillings and may need crowns or caps in the future. If the tooth or teeth were lost years ago, the gum and bone will most likely have receded and bone grafts — surgeries to transplant healthy bone tissue to the site to enable it to support an implant — will be required before the implant process can begin. The advantages and disadvantages to both procedures can ultimately be discussed with your Paradox dentist.

Your Oral Care Routine

Oral hygiene will be easier with an implant because dental bridges are cemented in the mouth, and involve at least three crowns connected together to fill the space of the missing tooth. The nature of this design creates challenges when brushing and flossing — you will need to floss under the crown — so it is important to be meticulous when cleaning.  In contrast, implants are placed individually, without affecting other teeth, so you will be able to brush and floss around an implant as you would your natural tooth. This will make oral care much easier to do and more effective.

Durability

Dental implants provide tooth replacement that lasts a lifetime. The metal cylinder or post that is embedded into the jawbone is normally made of titanium or zirconia. These materials fuse with your jawbone naturally in a process called osseointegration. Because they’re made of such strong materials, the implant is mostly immune to the effects of tooth decay. If a dental implant is properly cared for, the implant portion will last a lifetime. However, the crown (the false tooth mounted on top) will still need to be replaced every 15-20 years due to normal wear and tear. However, crowns can last longer with gentle use and proper care.  Conversely, the average life of a dental bridge is approximately 10 years, after which the entire bridge will need to be replaced. Also, because a portion of your natural tooth still remains beneath the crown, it will continue to be susceptible to decay and gum disease.

Cost Comparison

Dental bridges cost less initially, but it will need to be replaced at some point in the future. In comparison, dental implants – from preparation to final placement – may seem more expensive, but can actually save you money over time as the implant itself should never need to be replaced. Fortunately, most dental insurance providers now pay for some of or all of the steps involved in the implant process.

Implant treatment is also generally more flexible, allowing patients more time to budget the cost in increments. For example, a bone graft is sometimes necessary to reinforce the jawbone tissue to support an implant. This graft typically has to heal for several months before an implant can be installed. This inadvertently allows the patient more to save money for the next step in the process.

Dental Implants in Indianapolis, IN

Both options are preferable to being self-conscious about your smile or having difficulty chewing. Although bridges are an older procedure, dental implants have become more widely available and commonly used in recent years, and in most cases are the preferred method of treatment for missing teeth due to their durability and ease of care. If you are considering dental implants, you need to see the best implant dentist possible.

Paradox Dental Care in Indianapolis is a practice of skilled, professional dentists with years in practice. For a consultation with a Paradox dentist about dental implants or any other dental concern, please call (317) 325-8612 or schedule a consultation online today!