Tooth implant vs. bridge

Written by barb nefer
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Tooth implant vs. bridge
(Lacihobo/Wikimedia Commons)

Tooth implants and dental bridges are two popular ways to replace lost teeth. Both serve the same purpose, and both have a high success rate. If you are missing at least one tooth and want to explore your options for replacing it, you should do some research on both procedures. When you have the facts, you can compare tooth implants and bridges and decide which option is the best one for you.

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Purpose

The purpose of both a tooth implant and a bridge is to replace one or more missing teeth. When someone loses a tooth due to decay, an accident or any other reason, the resulting gap can cause problems. Surrounding teeth may shift into the space and eventually loosen. The person may also have problems chewing or speaking. A tooth implant or bridge eliminates these problems by filling in the space with a false tooth.

Function

A tooth implant and a bridge both function in the same way as a natural tooth. An implant is capped with a crown that allows a person to chew, eat and speak normally. A bridge has a false tooth that is held in place by bands or crowns on the adjoining teeth.

Time frame

Brookswood Denture Clinic says that tooth implants will usually last for a lifetime. Most problems happen within the first six months after the implant procedure is completed. Once this period has passed, implants should remain in place without any major problems. They sometimes require a bite adjustment, but this is minor. According to Dentistry.com, bridges typically last eight to 10 years. However, some can last as long as 25 years or more. Proper care can extend the life of the bridge. This includes brushing and flossing after eating and getting a professional dental exam and cleaning every six months.

Success Rate

Both tooth implants and dental bridges have a high success rate. Your Dentistry Guide says that an implant's success depends on where it is located. Over a five-year period, the success rate for lower jaw implants is 95 per cent. It is 90 per cent for upper jaw implants, because the bone in that area tends to be less dense. The success rate for dental bridges is close to 100 per cent if the adjacent teeth are healthy and prepared properly to support the bridge.

Cost

The cost can vary widely for both tooth implants and dental bridges, depending on the type of work and the dentist who performs it. According to Dental Resources, implants typically start at £975 to £1,950 and can go as high as £9,750 to £19,500 if there are complications or special needs such as bone grafts.

Dental bridges cost between £390 and £780, although they can be higher depending on the type of bridge and complexity of the overall procedure, including preparation of the surrounding teeth.

Limitations

Both tooth implants and bridges have some limitations. Your Dentistry Guide says that dental implants have a lower success rate in smokers than in the general population. A person who has low bone density may need bone grafts before getting an implant. Bridges require at least one healthy tooth adjacent to the gap to be filled. Ideally, the bridge should be attached to two adjoining teeth.

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