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Should I Get Dental Implants Or A Bridge?

Dec 15, 2022
When you’re missing one or more teeth, both dental implants and bridges can fill the gaps. Each method has pros and cons, so much depends on your individual condition and need.

If you’ve lost one or more teeth, you’re not alone. As a matter of fact, 69% of Americans ages 35-44 have lost at least one tooth.

Replacing a lost tooth was once done only with a dental bridge. This option basically consisted of an artificial crown, which replaced the visible portion of the lost tooth.

More recently, dental implants joined the scene. An implant provides an artificial tooth root as well as the crown. This treatment comes the closest to replacing the entire tooth structure.

Dr. Anthony Osei and the team at AB Dental and Oral Surgery in San Antonio specialize in restorative dentistry, a field that includes both implants and bridges. In this blog, Dr. Osei explains the differences between bridges and implants and why one option may be preferred over the other depending on the situation.

Dental implants vs. bridges

The primary difference between dental implants and dental bridges comes down to how each system supports the artificial crowns.

The implant system has three elements: the post, the abutment, and the crown. The post is set into the jawbone, replacing the tooth’s root. The abutment attaches to the top of the post, and the crown is anchored to the abutment. Once complete, the only part that is visible is the new crown.

A bridge typically consists of three crowns. The crowns on both ends are cemented onto the teeth that flank the gap, and they support the crown in the middle, which fills in for the missing tooth.

Pros and cons

Both systems use materials for the crowns that closely match your natural teeth, so visually there’s little difference.

Dental implants 

Pros:

  • They can last more than 15 years in many cases
  • They restore tooth and jaw interaction
  • They don’t add stress to surrounding teeth
  • They won’t budge when you’re chewing or speaking

Cons:

  • Depending on the technique, treatment times can take six months
  • They may require bone grafts to build up the jaw
  • The up-front costs are usually higher

Dental bridges

Pros:

  • They don’t require bone grafts
  • Most procedures only take about two weeks
  • They may be more affordable than implants

Cons:

  • They might slip if you’re chewing or speaking
  • The lifespan is usually less than 10 years
  • The surrounding teeth could have a higher risk for tooth decay
  • The supporting teeth could have a higher risk for damage

Other factors might also influence your choice between getting implants or dentures. For example, certain conditions — such as diabetes and leukemia — can slow healing after implant surgery. In these cases, getting a bridge might be the better option. Furthermore, the number and location of your lost teeth might weigh into your decision. 

If you want to learn more about replacing one or more missing teeth, Dr. Osei can help you. He’ll give you a thorough evaluation, discuss your options, and go over which one might be best for you.

To learn more, call 210-682-2700 or book an appointment online with AB Dental and Oral Surgery today.

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