There are many decisions you’ll need to make regarding your long-term oral health, and one of the first is what type of procedure you need done. If you’re missing a tooth, a bridge or an implant are two of your best choices. But which to choose: bridges or implants?
So many terms are thrown around in the world of dental reconstructive work. Do you need a crown or bridge, a veneer, dentures, or implants? It can be too much when you’re trying to make the right choice for you.
Crowns, or caps, are placed on top of a damaged or chipped tooth while veneers cover your teeth masking any discoloration or chipping. You should only be considering dentures if a large number of your teeth are missing or damaged. So if you’re only missing a tooth, you’re in the right place. Bridges or implants are the way to go.
What is a bridge?
A dental bridge is formed by using the two teeth that are beside the missing tooth. A new fabricated tooth is attached to the two adjacent teeth, building a link between the two teeth and filling in the gap. It’s like the new tooth is a bridge that is connecting your real teeth.
The procedure is relatively simple. A small amount of enamel is removed from the two adjacent teeth to assure the new tooth fits and has a firm attachment. It will be easy to eat with your new bridge, and nobody else will be able to tell that the new tooth isn’t even connected to your gums or jawbone.
Bridges are an excellent choice if you’re trying to spend less on your procedure. They don’t require surgery, and there’s no need to check your jaw’s bone density before their placement.
The downside is that they only last 8–15 years, and because the root of the tooth isn’t replaced, jawbone tissue degeneration occurs at a faster rate than in those who choose implants. Also, any crowned teeth adjacent to the bridge will be more susceptible to decay.
What is an implant?
An implant is a complete tooth replacement. A post is inserted directly into the jawbone and the new fabricated tooth is placed on top. An implant is in many ways like getting an entirely new tooth, and by replacing the root of the tooth, gum and tissue health is supported.
Implants are expensive, and the timelines to have the work completed are often much longer than that of a bridge. You’ll need surgery to have the work completed, and if the tooth has been missing for a period of time you may need a bone graft.
But for all these downsides implants are the healthier choice if your jaw can support the work, and they should last you the rest of your life. The new tooth isn’t going to decay like a real tooth, and because it isn’t connected to anything else, it isn’t going to negatively affect the teeth around it.
How much do bridges and implants cost?
Bridges range in price from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on what material is used and the health and structural integrity of the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth.
An average single dental implant costs $4,000, but there are often many procedures that need to be finished before the surgery can happen, and when it’s all over with can cost upwards of $10,000.
What should I do?
Many patients may be interested in implants, but it may not be the right choice for you either for financial reasons or because of the health of your jaw. You should talk to someone who can give you all the answers you’re looking for, and they shouldn’t charge you for doing your homework.
At Dr. Stone’s practice, we offer complimentary consultations to new and prospective patients. We believe it’s only right for you to be able to talk through this important decision with a professional, and we think it’s wrong to charge someone for information that they need before they make that decision. Dr. Stone has been practicing for over thirty years, and would love to help you decide what’s best for you. Schedule your appointment today.