Tooth Implant Benefits Over Dental Bridges: Are Dental Implants Better?
If you lose a tooth, your dentist will recommend a replacement option, such as a tooth implant or a dental bridge. An implant tooth is a complete and permanent replacement, whereas a dental bridge replaces the tooth’s visible crown, but not the roots. Unlike bridges, dental implants have restorative benefits that enable you to retain your natural teeth and oral functions for life.
Learn everything you need to know about the benefits of dental implants over dental bridges. Find out how dental implants work and why they are better for your long-term health than other tooth replacement options. And see if you are a candidate for a dental implant tooth replacement procedure.
Is a tooth implant better than a dental bridge for replacing teeth?
In short, yes – a tooth implant is superior to a dental bridge for replacing missing teeth. Implant teeth are the standard in modern dentistry because they have significant advantages to your health compared to a dental bridge or removable dentures. Although bridges are less costly at first, you may spend more on health and dental expenses in the long run. Dental implants are a one-time expense that restores the complete functionality of your missing teeth.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant tooth replacement has three parts: the implant screw, abutment, and crown. The titanium implant screw replaces the roots of a missing tooth and bonds to the jawbone. An abutment post connects the implant screw to the artificial crown. The result is a permanent tooth replacement that looks, feels, and functions like your natural teeth.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is a prosthetic that spans the two healthy teeth on either side of a gap. The bridge is attached to the neighboring teeth using dental cement. Ultimately, a bridge supports the same type of artificial crown as a dental implant.
What makes them so different?
Your natural teeth develop roots in your jawbone to support the force of your bite. When you place pressure on your teeth, your bite force stimulates healthy jawbone growth, without which your jawbone will stop growing and lose mass. Implant teeth replace the roots of your missing tooth, but dental bridges do not.
Your jawbone is critical to supporting your facial structure. Without stimulation from the roots of your teeth, your jawbone shrinks and changes your facial features to show signs of premature aging. In addition, when your jawbone shrinks, it can cause root decay to your healthy teeth and lead to further tooth loss. Your jawbone will resorb or lose its mass and volume by 25% in the first year after tooth loss.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants, first and foremost, stimulate healthy jawbone growth by permanently replacing the roots of your missing teeth with a biocompatible implant screw. Over three to eight months, the titanium screw fuses with your jawbone, called osseointegration. Unlike a dental bridge, a tooth implant is a comprehensive and life-long replacement for your missing tooth.
Strong and Secure
Implant teeth are indistinguishable from your healthy teeth and enable your natural oral functions without restriction. An implant tooth replacement supports a dental crown. The crown, abutment, and implant are securely bonded together using dental cement.
Dental bridges are not securely bonded to your jawbone, so your jaw will lose mass over time; when chewing and speaking, a dental bridge places the pressure of your bite force against your gums, not your jawbone, so your jaw goes through resorption.
As your jawbone shrinks, the bond that holds your bridge may become unstable and cause unintended slippage when you eat, talk, or smile. Many patients with bridges find it necessary to follow a restricted diet to avoid accidentally dislodging the dental prosthetic.
Permanent for Life
Dental bridges have a lifespan of about seven years, on average, whereas dental implants are 94% successful after ten years and often last for life. Even if you break the artificial crown, your dental implant screw is durable and permanent, so you can replace the crown without replacing the implant. If you damage your dental bridge, your only option is to purchase a replacement.
Don’t Wait to Replace Your Tooth
The longer you wait to replace your missing tooth, the more likely you will require bone grafting before your implant tooth placement. If you have strong oral health, you may avoid additional expenses for bone grafting if you see your implant dentist or oral surgeon immediately following tooth loss. Call our office to schedule a consultation and see if you are a good candidate for a tooth implant replacement procedure.
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