Bridges vs. Implants: Which is Right for You?

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Bridges vs. Implants: Which is Right for You?
Millions of people are missing at least one tooth, but leaving it alone puts you at risk for multiple problems. Learn about two restorative treatments — dental implants and bridges — and how to decide which option is better for you.

Did you know that about 69% of adults who are 33 to 44 years of age are missing at least one tooth? But tooth loss isn’t just a cosmetic concern. Whether the loss is due to decay or a traumatic injury, leaving a gap in your mouth puts you at risk for significant oral health problems. 

Dr. Jarred Donald offers advanced solutions for missing teeth. He’s inspired to continuously pursue education about the latest dental treatments, including dental bridge and implant technology. The patient comes first at Cisco Dental in Cisco, Texas, and Dr. Donald offers solid advice to patients on which solution is better for them as an answer to a missing tooth — or teeth. 

Gaps between your teeth pose problems

Tooth loss harms your oral health, now and in the future. You may experience:

  • Bite problems
  • Chewing and speech challenges
  • Bone loss
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Lowered self-esteem

A big concern is bone loss. Chewing with your teeth stimulates bone growth, so if there’s no tooth in a certain location, that spot on your jaw will suffer, and you can experience more tooth loss. 

The differences between a dental implant and a bridge

If you visit us for a consultation about filling a gap in your mouth, Dr. Donald discusses whether a dental implant or a bridge is more appropriate for you. 

A dental implant procedure involves having a small metal post placed in your gum where your tooth was. It acts as your tooth root in the absence of the real one. A crown is then placed that looks like a real tooth and matches the shade of your teeth precisely. Some implants also employ a small piece of hardware known as an abutment that connects the implant and the crown. 

Before you ever have your implant procedure, Dr. Donald first gets information on your unique tooth placement, and their size and shape through digital imagining of your mouth. This is the blueprint for how your crown will be crafted and what the exact angle of your implant post will be. 

When your crown’s ready and you come for your implant procedure, Dr. Donald injects numbing medication into your gum so you’re comfortable. He then makes a tiny incision in your gum so he can create a minute hole in your bone in which to anchor the post. 

Over time, you heal and your bone fuses with the post. After that, Dr. Donald places the crown on your post. You can now enjoy a smile that’s both beautiful and fully functional. 

It’s also possible for Dr. Donald to place four implants to replace a whole lower or upper row of teeth. These are called implant-retained dentures. 

A bridge is either a single false tooth or several false teeth stabilized by a crown on both sides. Dr. Donald can also use a bridge as a solution to address a missing back molar that requires just a single crown. 

Dr. Donald again uses imaging to aid in the manufacturing of your crown or crowns so that ultimately your bridge is comfortably and securely placed. 

Weighing the benefits of dental implants and bridges

Dr. Donald guides you through making the right decision about whether an implant or a bridge is more appropriate for you. Here are some considerations he discusses with you:

Individual dental circumstances

Bridges are typically better for patients missing more than one tooth and are an ideal alternative to partial dentures, especially for those whose remaining teeth are healthy. 

An implant may be preferable if you want a more permanent, stronger restorative option. The implant-retained denture choice works well for patients whose situations call for an implant-based solution, also. 

A patient’s health

A dental implant involves actual surgery, so if your health is compromised by a chronic condition, such as diabetes, a bridge may be preferable. Dr. Donald also assesses your jawbone’s strength, because you must be able to fully support the implant once the procedure is done. 

Healing time

An implant takes anywhere from two to six months to complete when you factor in the phases of the treatment and the time it takes for healing so the bone can fuse properly with the implant. 

With a bridge, you visit us twice over the course of a couple of weeks, and you’re done as soon as placement is complete.

Life spans

Bridges are long-lasting; if cared for properly, they can last over a decade. 

Dental implants can last a lifetime, since they become part of your mouth and fuse with your bone.

Dr. Donald is happy to help you arrive at a decision about which restorative treatment is best suited to your needs and lifestyle. Call our office at 254-442-2000 to schedule a consultation or book one online