Dental bridges used to be the only option for patients who need to replace a missing tooth. However, that is no longer the case. Now, you can opt to have a single-tooth dental implant placed in your mouth instead. Both options work well and have several benefits. So, before you make a decision, you should take the time to learn more about your options.
What is a Dental Implant?
Put simply, a dental implant is a small titanium screw that is placed in your jaw surgically. Once the screw is in place, your dentist covers the screw with a custom-made crown that is designed to look and feel like one of your natural teeth. As it heals, a dental implant fuses to your jawbone, giving it a strong, stable foundation. A dental implant won't interfere with the way you smile, speak, or eat, so it's the best choice for people who want a replacement that's really similar to their natural tooth.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is two or more dental crowns that are anchored to the natural teeth on either side of the gap that your missing tooth or teeth created. Because a dental bridge isn't surgically placed into your jaw, it relies on the strength or the teeth surrounding the gap to remain in place. This means, once you have a dental bridge placed, it's extremely important to have regular dental exams and maintain good oral hygiene habits. Dental bridges don't last as long as implants, but they do last about 10 years if the are cared for properly. If you don't want to have oral surgery, a dental bridge is a good option for you.
Neither dental implants or bridges are procedures that are completed in one visit. Dental bridges are custom-made to fit your mouth, so they do take time to finish. However, most dentists will place a temporary bridge in your mouth so that they gap is filled while you're waiting for your custom bridge to be completed.
It does take longer to have the dental implant process completed, because you have to allow the implants to heal before the screws are covered with the crowns. After the screws are placed in your jaw, it takes between three to six months to heal. Once it's healed, a post is placed in your mouth. After your gums grow up around the post, the crown can be placed on the implant. Sometimes, a dentist will place the implant and the post at the same time, which does decrease the amount of time it takes to complete the entire process. Even though it takes longer to get a dental implant, the end result gives you an artificial tooth that feels just like a natural tooth.
Both dental bridges and implants are good options. They both work well and have several benefits. So, if you're looking for the most natural option, choose dental implants, and if you're looking for the fastest solution, opt for a dental bridge.
To learn more, contact a dental office like Bayside Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Centre.