Implants vs. Dental Bridges
Submitted by Michael R. Cortese, D.M.D. on Sun 03/19/2017 - 09:00
Patients missing teeth have more replacement options than ever before. A certified maxillofacial prosthodontist, Dr. Michael Cortese, of Princeton Prosthodontics offer sophisticated tooth replacement options to satisfy a variety of different needs and goals.
Very often, the choice comes down to a dental implant versus a dental bridge. A dental bridge usually involves an artificial tooth flanked by two crowns; the tooth fits into the gap left by the missing tooth and the crowns fit over the teeth adjacent to the gap. A dental implant consists of a titanium post placed in the jawbone to act like a tooth root; a connector piece is screwed onto the post and attaches to an artificial tooth (usually a crown).
There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Dr. Cortese meets with every patient individually to discuss the options and select the best fit.
A dental bridge usually takes two short dental visits with Dr. Cortese. During the first, he prepares the teeth to accommodate the dental bridge; once the permanent bridge is ready, he places it.
Dental implants have a longer treatment time because they require a minor oral surgery to place the posts in the jawbone. The bone then needs to heal around the post before the permanent tooth replacement can be placed.
When a tooth falls out, the underlying jawbone becomes weak from lack of chewing stimulation and starts to deteriorate. Because dental bridges are not fixed to the jawbone, chewing on them does not stimulate the bone. As a result, it can deteriorate further and cause the facial structures to collapse.
Because the posts are placed in the jawbone, implants do provide the stimulation needed to keep the bone healthy and intact. (Keep in mind, though, that the jawbone needs to be strong enough at the time of implant placement to support the post; if it’s not, the post can loosen and fall out.)
Implants tend to provide the most aesthetically satisfying result, as they are customized to match the color, shape, size and translucence of the natural surrounding teeth.
Also worth noting is that implants are a standalone solution; they do not affect the teeth adjacent to the gap. On the other hand, bridges rely on the support of the surrounding teeth and may require some enamel removal to accommodate the bridgework.
Dental bridges tend to wear down quicker than implants (approximately every 10 years). There is a portion of natural tooth underneath them, which is susceptible to decay and gum disease. Compare that to implants, which can last a lifetime with the proper care and attention. Implants are more resistant to decay and gum problems and overall more durable than dental bridges.
Contact Princeton Prosthodontics
To discuss your tooth replacement options with Dr. Cortese, please call (609) 683-8282 or email us today.