Both dental implants and fixed bridges can be used to successfully restore gaps in your smile.
For decades, bridges were the go-to choice for most multi-tooth dental restorations. Today, however, we have another excellent option — dental implants.
So what is the difference between these tooth restoration methods? And which one is the right choice to replace your missing teeth?
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are composed of three main parts. A titanium post or screw serves as a replacement tooth root, a crown acts as an artificial tooth, and an abutment connects the post and the crown.
The standard implant process requires at least two procedures over the course of a few months. The titanium post is first inserted into the gum area. After the surrounding bone tissue grows and fuses with the post and the area is healed, the abutment is attached and the crown is placed. If, however, you have bone loss in your jaw, a bone graft will be necessary before the implant process can begin.
If your jawbone is healthy, strong and capable of supporting implants, you may be a candidate for the Teeth in a Day implant process.
As the name suggests, these replacement teeth are immediate. You’ll walk in the office with missing teeth, and you’ll walk out with the implanted titanium posts, abutments and temporary crowns.
You will need to stop in about a month later, to have the crowns permanently placed. However, that’s a quick and simple procedure.
What Is a Fixed Bridge?
A fixed bridge uses a partial denture to literally bridge the gap between natural teeth.
To place a bridge, the oral surgeon re-contours the two teeth on either side of the missing teeth, known as the abutment teeth. After being filed down, impressions will be made of the bridge area, and these will be used by the dental lab to create the permanent crowns and bridge.
You will be fitted with a temporary bridge to protect the area while the permanent replacements are made.
On your next visit, the temporary bridge will be removed and the permanent bridge and abutment crowns then will be put in place and cemented in.
Choosing Between Dental Implants and a Fixed Bridge
A bridge may be less expensive than dental implants initially, but implants are more cost-effective in the long term.
Unlike bridges, implants are a long-term solution that rarely require replacement. And because they fuse with the jawbone, implants prevent future bone loss in the jaw, whereas bridges do not. Bridges also require removing the enamel and re-contouring healthy teeth, putting them at increased risk for decay and infection.
Anyone healthy enough for routine dental treatment can opt for implants. The implants procedure is technically considered to be a form of surgery, and all surgeries carry some slight risks, which are not issues in the bridge process. And the implant procedure is typically longer than that for a fixed bridge.
For these reasons and because of costs, some patients choose a fixed bridge. But because today’s dental implants look, feel and perform exactly like your natural teeth, they have become one of our most in-demand restoration procedures.
Because every patient is different, a full evaluation of your case is necessary before determining which options may be right for you. Contact Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah to schedule an appointment today. With offices conveniently located in Tooele, South Jordan and Cottonwood Heights, our team looks forward to answering all your questions regarding fixed bridges and dental implants.