Because dental technology has advanced greatly in the last 30 years, patients with missing or irreparably damaged teeth now have several options available for tooth replacement. Dental bridges are a well- established method of replacing lost teeth. Dental implants are a newer method that has become much more widely available in recent years.
But what’s the difference between a dental bridge and an implant and which one is right for you? Most dentists including Drs. Adrian Levesque, Keith Levesque and Tara Vogel of Levesque Family Dentistry in Nashua, NH prefer implants due to their strength, longevity and ease of care. However, there are numerous considerations to be taken into account when making this decision, including if your tooth loss is recent or happened years ago.
Practical Reasons for Both
In years past, a dental bridge was the only choice available choice. A bridge involves more than just the missing tooth. When placing a bridge, the adjacent teeth on either side of the gap need to be prepared by removing the enamel in order to attach the bridge to them. With dental implants, your Levesque Family Dentistry dentist will secure the replacement tooth directly into the jawbone, resulting in a tooth that is stronger and permanent.
However, a dental bridge may be the right option for you if the neighboring teeth have large fillings and will require crowns or caps in the future. Also, if the tooth or teeth were lost a long time ago, the gum and bone tissues will have receded and procedures other than the implant- such as bone grafts- will be needed before the implant can be placed. The advantages and disadvantages to both procedures can ultimately be discussed with your Levesque Family Dentistry dentist.
Your Oral Care Routine
Your ability to perform oral hygiene and keep your mouth clean and healthy will be easier with an implant. Dental bridges are cemented in the mouth, and involve at least three crowns connected together to fill the space of the missing tooth. The nature of this design can make brushing and flossing difficult, so it is important to be when cleaning. Flossing, in particular, will require you to thread the floss under the false tooth to prevent gum disease from setting in, making the process more difficult.
Implants replace teeth individually without affecting the neighboring teeth. With implants, you can brush and floss as you would your natural tooth, making oral care much simpler and more effective.
Dental implants are more durable than bridges, providing a solution that can potentially last a lifetime. The titanium cylinder or post that is embedded into the jawbone — called the implant — naturally fuses with your jawbone and is mostly resistant to decay because it is made of such strong material. If a dental implant is properly cared for, the implant can last a lifetime and only the crown — the false tooth mounted on top — will need to be replaced. This will usually need to occur every 15-20 years due to normal wear and tear, but crowns can last longer with proper care. Conversely, the average lifespan of a dental bridge is approximately 10 years. After this, the entire bridge will need to be replaced and because a portion of your natural tooth remains beneath the abutment teeth, they will continue to be susceptible to decay and gum disease.
While the cost of a dental bridge is less at first, it will need to be replaced at some point in the future. Implants – from preparation to final placement – are more expensive, but can actually save you money over time. Fortunately, most dental insurance providers will now contribute to at least a portion of or all of the steps involved in the implant process. Implant treatment is also generally more flexible, allowing patients more time to budget the cost of the procedures in increments. For example, if a bone graft is needed to reinforce the jawbone to support an implant, the patient will have several months while it heals to save before the next phase, installation of the implant, can begin.
Dental Implants in Nashua, NH
Both options are preferable to being embarrassed and self-conscious about your smile because or having difficulty chewing. Although bridges are an older procedure, dental implants have become widely available in recent years, and in most cases are the preferred method of treatment for missing teeth due to their ease of care and long lifespan.
If you are considering dental implants, you’ll want to see an experienced implant dentist in your area. If you’re in the Nashua, NH area, Levesque Family Dentistry is a practice of skilled professional dentists with years in practice. Our dentists, Dr. Keith Levesque and Dr. Tara Vogel are members of the American Society of Implant & Reconstructive Dentistry (ASIRD). ASIRD is committed to improving the quality of care for dental implant patients by elevating the standards of surgical and restorative dental education and practice.
Not every dentist routinely restores and maintains dental implants and not all dentists who offer implants are surgeons. By using an ASIRD team, rest assured that your dentist routinely restores and maintains dental implants and only a trained surgeon will place your implant. For a consultation with a Levesque Family Dentistry dentist about dental implants or any other dental concern, please call (603) 547-9203 or schedule an appointment online today!