February 10, 2019
You know you should have your missing teeth replaced. Not only are the vacated sockets creating a less than aesthetically pleasing smile, but you’re concerned it may begin to affect other healthy teeth. If you’re unsure of which restorative option you should choose, here are some advantages and disadvantages to two popular solutions: dental implants and dental crowns and bridges.
What Are Dental Implants?
Whether you’re looking to replace one tooth or multiples, dental implants can give you a beautifully restored smile. The titanium posts that are surgically placed within your jawbone act as your tooth’s root. This provides your jaw with the stimulation it needs to maintain its strength. It also improves your oral health, prevents facial collapse, shifting teeth, and bone deterioration, all of which can occur if missing teeth are not replaced in a timely manner.
Once the implant is placed and has the proper amount of time to fuse to the bone (3-6 months), you will return to your dentist office to have a customized crown placed on top of the implant. Its appearance will match that of your nearby teeth, giving you a seamless smile.
What Are Dental Crowns & Bridges?
Dental crowns are a go-to solution for anyone with damaged or severely decayed teeth. If a filling isn’t enough to address the problem, your dentist may suggest a ceramic dental crown to save your tooth. Not only can they act on their own as a valuable restorative option, but they also play a part in dental implant placement and root canal therapy. It simply fits over your natural tooth, giving it a natural and durable look and feel.
Ceramic dental bridges are used in conjunction with dental crowns. This is because, if you are missing one or several teeth in a row, a bridge can essentially “bridge the gap” between your natural teeth. The bridge is meant to replace missing teeth and is attached to crowns that will fit over your natural teeth. If you have natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth, a bridge will be a great solution for you.
What Are Their Advantages and Disadvantages?
Every patient is different, which means while dental implants may work for one person, they may not be the right solution for another. To get a better idea of which option might be best for you, let’s look at some of the pros and cons to both treatment options.
- Pro: They can replace more than one missing tooth.
- Pro: They require very little maintenance, as you will brush and floss them just as you do your natural teeth.
- Pro: Their strength and durability can have them lasting a lifetime. That is if you take care of them properly.
- Con: Dental implants are expensive.
- Con: If you have weak bone structure, you may not be eligible for dental implants.
- Con: The procedure does require surgery, so local anesthesia or sedation will be administered, and the full process can take months.
Dental Crowns & Bridges
- Pro: The procedure is very simple and requires no surgery.
- Pro: Dental crowns and bridges are a more affordable option.
- Pro: It often takes only two to three visits to the dentist office for successful creation and placement, so the process is much quicker.
- Con: You must have natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth in order to hold the bridge in place.
- Con: You may face the possibility of bone loss due to the missing tooth not being fully replaced like an implant.
- Con: It may be more difficult to clean a dental bridge, as they may collect plaque; however, using a specialized floss can help to alleviate the problem.
Now that you know your options, which will you choose? Still unsure? Talk to your dentist about your oral health and which solution is right for you. Rest assured that no matter which dental treatment you receive, you’ll have a natural, beautiful smile.
About the Author
Dr. Sandi Hamm earned a Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene from Texas A&M University before going on to Baylor College of Dentistry and completing her DDS degree. She has been improving her patient’s smiles in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for more than 20 years. If you’re experiencing problems with missing teeth, Dr. Hamm can provide treatment solutions that will restore your smile and give you lasting durability. For questions about dental implants or dental crowns and bridges, visit our website or call (817) 477-4441.
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