Do I Need a Bridge Or a Dental Implant?

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Recent studies show that 69% of adults ages 35 – 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth due to an accident, gum disease, or tooth decay. Many such people are candidates for bridges or dental implants at Smile On Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center. After a full oral exam that evaluates several factors, our experienced nearby dentists can confirm which of these options is best for you. 

What Is a Dental Implant? 

The question of bridges or dental implants begins with a definition of each. A dental implant is essentially an artificial tooth root, usually titanium, that’s anchored to the spot where the missing tooth once resided. While the implant fuses with the patient’s jawbone, a temporary protective cover screw is placed on it. The fusion process (or “osseointegration”) can take up to six months to complete, after which a very strong connection is created between implant and bone. The protective cover is then replaced by a temporary crown, which remains in place until the surrounding gum line has grown and and taken shape around the implant area. The final step is the placement of a permanent crown.

What Is a Dental Bridge?

Unlike a dental implant, a dental bridge doesn’t replace a tooth root. Instead, a bridge uses one or more surrounding teeth as a support, on to which is attached a crown that fills the space created by the missing teeth. Since osseointegration isn’t a requirement for a dental bridge, the treatment process is much shorter than that of a dental implant process. However, in terms of invasiveness, getting a dental bridge does require the adjacent teeth to be permanently altered in order to support the bridge. In order to establish a strong connection between the bridge and the adjacent (or “anchor”) teeth, the anchor teeth must first be filed down in order to function as a proper support. 

Which One Is Best?

Dental implants and dental bridges are equally effective solutions, but each has specific requirements that must be met. These are determined during an initial treatment consultation at our local dentist. For example, a dental implant isn’t an option for anyone who hasn’t reached adulthood, since the implant can only be done when bone growth is finished. It’s also important to evaluate bone density and quality and to confirm whether a potential patient has enough bone structure for implantation. This might pose a problem for smokers or people suffering from diabetes, periodontitis, or cancer, who may lack the requisite bone mass required to minimize the chances of implant failure. 

Dental bridges, due to their less invasive nature, are far less restrictive in terms of candidacy. When evaluating a patient’s potential for a dental bridge, what’s most important is the health and stability of the supporting teeth. For example, a patient with periodontal disease, tooth decay, or chipped/cracked teeth may require additional treatments to ensure their teeth are strong enough to support a dental bridge.

Let’s Discuss Your Options Today

Few dentists are as experienced with dental bridges and dental implants in Chicago as Smile On Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and confirm which of these procedures is best for your long-term oral health.

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