What are dental bridges?
Dental bridges are fixed dental appliances that literally 'bridge' the gap left by missing teeth. They are used to replace one or more missing teeth. Because they are permanently attached to the teeth on either side of the gap, unlike dentures, they can only be safely removed by a dentist. They are also known as 'permanent partial dentures'.
Caring for dental bridges
Once your dental bridge has been installed, you can treat it in the same way that you would care for your natural teeth. Your bridge should last for many years if you maintain it properly with regular brushing and flossing. You should also continue to see your dentist on a regular basis.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a small titanium rod that is surgically implanted into the jaw bone to serve as an artificial tooth root. Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth. Titanium is a type of metal that has the ability to form bonds with natural bone, making it a secure and stable foundation for an artificial tooth. A dental crown (cap) is then placed on top of the implant to serve as the artificial tooth replacement.
Together, the dental crown and implant look and function very much like a natural tooth.
Caring for dental implants
As with dental bridges, you should take care of your dental implants just like your natural teeth. This includes a consistent brushing and flossing routine, and regular visits to the dentist.
How do I know which option is right for me?
Dental implants and dental bridges both have their advantages, and the best option for any individual will vary depending on factors such as their oral health needs as well as their financial consideration.
The placement of dental implants is significantly more invasive than the placement of dental bridges. However, dental implants can often appear and feel more natural than dental bridges.
In addition, for the dental implant procedure to be successful, you must have a sufficient volume of jaw bone. If you don't have enough bone in your jaw, you may still be able to get an implant, but you would need to undergo a bone grafting procedure first to ensure that the implant could be supported. As a result, the implant process would take longer and be somewhat more invasive.
At the end of the day, the only way to determine which tooth replacement option is best for you is to consult with your dentist.