If you are missing one or more teeth, you may be considering the pros and cons of various tooth replacement options. Here, our Lethbridge periodontists discuss some of the benefits of replacing missing teeth with dental bridges, compared to dental implants and dentures.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is a fixed dental appliance that bridges the gap left by missing teeth. It can be used to replace a single missing tooth or several missing teeth in a row. Bridges are normally made of two dental crowns (one on each of the teeth on either side of the gap), and the false tooth (or teeth) that bridge the space in between.
How do I know which type of tooth replacement to choose?
Every dental restoration and tooth replacement comes with different pros and cons. Based on a variety of factors, including your needs, budget, and lifestyle, your dentist will recommend the most appropriate tooth replacement option for you.
Dental Bridges or Dental Implants?
Dental bridges and dental implants both are long-term solutions for missing teeth. One important difference between the two is that dental bridges typically need to be replaced after 5 to 15 years, while dental implants can last quite a bit longer than that.
That said, the dental bridge procedure is significantly less invasive than the dental implant procedure (which is a surgery), and it requires a shorter recovery time as well. In most cases, dental implants are more expensive than bridges and are less likely to be covered by insurance.
Dental Bridges or Dentures?
The main difference between dental bridges and dentures is that dentures are removable, while bridges are fixed to the surrounding teeth.
Most of the time, a dental bridge will be recommended when there are only a few missing teeth to replace, or when the missing teeth are only on one side of the mouth.
Dental bridges tend to be a little more costly than partial dentures, but both tooth replacement options are covered by most dental insurance plans.
Why replace missing teeth?
A variety of dental health problems can arise when missing teeth are not replaced. It can make chewing and speaking difficult, and over time, the teeth around the gap can shift out of position, worsening the problem. In addition, the jaw structure around the missing teeth may start to deteriorate, causing facial collapse.
Bridges, implants and dentures are all different solutions that can all help you avoid these issues. They all fill the space left by missing teeth, prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting, and help preserve your ability to chew and speak.