Whether you just found out you need an extraction, or you’ve been missing a tooth for a while, you have a few different replacement options. Two of the most common methods for replacing a lost tooth are a traditional dental bridge and a dental implant. At Inspire Smiles Dental, Dr. Rassiwala – your San Ramon, CA dentist – explains the differences between these two options and explores the pros and cons of each.
Before we discuss the details, let’s review the basics of traditional bridges and dental implants. First, both of these treatments are excellent choices for replacing a single tooth. A traditional bridge is a three-unit restoration that fits over the natural teeth on either side of the gap. On the other hand, a dental implant is a threaded titanium post that is placed within the jawbone. It replaces the root of the missing tooth, and a crown can be placed on top. Both options are used routinely in dentistry. The best choice for you will depend on a variety of factors, including your medical history and your personal goals, among other things.
Preserving Natural Tooth Structure
Many patients choose a dental implant, as it is widely considered the superior tooth replacement option. This is especially helpful if the natural teeth beside the space are in good condition and free from decay. Why? Because in order to place a bridge, the natural teeth will need to be filed down. However, if those teeth already have some degree of decay, a bridge can be placed, and the damaged tooth structure can be eliminated simultaneously. Additionally, some patients are simply not good candidates for dental implants. For example, if you have health conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, you may be better suited for a dental bridge, as it is less invasive.
When considering the long-term health of your jawbone, a dental implant is the most superior option for single-tooth replacement. This is because the implant mimics the natural tooth root, and in turn, stimulates the nerves within the jawbone. Conversely, if a bridge is chosen, you will gradually lose bone density in that area over time.
With today’s modern dental materials, both a traditional bridge and a dental implant offer lifelike results. The most aesthetically pleasing option for you will really depend on your unique circumstances. During a consultation with your San Ramon, CA dentist, she can help you determine which solution will effectively meet your needs.
Durability and Strength
If your top priority is strength and longevity, a dental implant is a solution for you. With appropriate care and maintenance, a dental implant can last for decades – and often a lifetime. Traditional dental bridges typically last about 10 to 15 years.
If you choose a bridge to replace a missing tooth, you will require specialized tools to effectively clean under the restoration. Many patients use floss threaders, while others prefer small interproximal brushes. Those who choose a dental implant will be able to brush and floss around it just like a natural tooth.
A dental bridge can be placed virtually immediately after tooth loss. It will take our dental lab a week or two to craft your restoration, but it can be bonded into place as soon as we receive it. In contrast, a dental implant must heal for approximately three to six months before a crown can be attached. This is because we must wait for osseointegration to occur, which is a process in which the jawbone fuses to the implant.
Contact Your San Ramon Dentist Today
As you can see, there are advantages to each treatment option. To determine which is the right choice for you, schedule a consultation at our Dublin, CA practice. You can call us at 925-833-9500 or contact us online anytime.
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