There have been many significant advances in dental technology in the last 30 years. Patients that are missing teeth or have severely damaged teeth now have several great options available to them. Dental bridges are the time-tested method of filling the gaps in your smile while dental implants are a newer method that has become increasingly popular in recent years.
So what’s the difference between a dental bridge versus an implant? Which treatment option is better? Most dentists, including Dr. Brad Gorsky in Manhattan, New York City, NY prefer dental implants due to their strength, longevity and ease of care. However, numerous factors need to be taken into consideration before a decision is made, including if your tooth loss is recent or happened years ago and the health of your remaining teeth and gum tissue.
Dental Implants or Bridges: Practical Reasons for Both
In the past, a dental bridge was really the only choice for replacing a single tooth that was too damaged to save or already missing. However, a bridge involves more than just the missing tooth. The neighboring teeth on either side of the gap must be prepared by removing most of their enamel in order to place crowns over them to which the bridge is attached. With dental implants, Dr. Gorsky embeds the replacement tooth directly into your jawbone resulting in a tooth restoration that is more durable and longer lasting.
Nonetheless, a dental bridge may be your best option if the neighboring teeth have large fillings and will need crowns or caps in the future to restore them to full health and functioning. If the tooth or teeth were lost a long time ago, the gum and bone tissues will have receded and procedures beyond the implant- such as bone grafts- may be necessary before implants can be placed. The advantages and disadvantages to both procedures can ultimately be discussed with Dr. Gorsky at your implant consultation.
Your Oral Care Routine
Your ability to maintain your dental health and hygiene will be easier with an implant. Dental bridges are an empty crown cemented to two other crowns over natural teeth in the mouth. As such, they involve at least three crowns connected together to fill the space of the missing tooth which creates challenges when brushing and flossing.
Flossing, in particular, will require meticulous care to complete as you will need to thread the floss under the false tooth to prevent gum disease from setting in. In contrast, implants replace teeth individually and from the root up, without affecting other teeth. You can brush and floss around an implant exactly as you do your other natural teeth, making oral hygiene much simpler and more effective.
Dental implants are more durable than bridges, providing a restoration that lasts a lifetime. The metal cylinder or post that is embedded into the jawbone as the root of the implant is normally made of titanium or zirconia. These materials fuse with your jawbone naturally. Because they are crafted from such strong materials, the implant will be mostly resistant to decay. If a dental implant is properly cared for, the implant portion will last a lifetime with only the crown (the false tooth mounted on top) needing replacement every 15-20 years due to normal wear and tear. However, even the crowns’ lifespans can be extended with conscientious care.
On the other hand, the average life of a dental bridge is approximately 10 years at which point the entire bridge will need to be replaced. Also, because a portion of your natural tooth remains beneath it, normal wear may weaken the bridge over time as the remaining tooth structures continue to be susceptible to decay and gum disease.
The cost of the dental bridge is less expensive initially, but it will need to be replaced at some point in the future. Implants – from preparation to final placement – may seem more costly now, but can actually save you money over time. Fortunately, most dental insurance providers now pay for a portion of or all of the steps involved in the implant process.
Dental Implants in New York City, NY
Both options are preferable to being self-conscious about smiling or having difficulty chewing because you have missing or damaged teeth. Although bridges are an older procedure, dental implants have become more readily available and affordable over the years, and in most cases are the preferred method of treatment for missing teeth due to their durability and ease of care.
Dr. Gorsky is a skilled professional, practicing in midtown Manhattan in New York City. His practice is conveniently located just a short walk from the 4, 5, 6, E, M, N, Q and R subway lines. For a consultation with Dr. Gorsky about dental implants or any other dental concern, please call 212.235.1769 or request an appointment online today!