When you need to replace one or two teeth at a time, you have two popular choices to consider: dental implants or a fixed bridge. While dentures and partial dentures are also popular, those restorations are typically reserved for replacing multiple or all of your teeth at one time. For situations with fewer teeth, how can you decide if an implant or dental bridge is best?
Dental Bridge Advantages
A traditional dental bridge is the common tooth replacement predecessor to dental implants. They are effective, predictable, and usually only take two weeks to prep and place. As an added bonus, if your supporting teeth need crowns on them, the bridge serves to reinforce those teeth as well as replace the missing one between them.
Dental Bridge Disadvantages
Unfortunately, there is one leading disadvantage to fixed bridges. They require altering the shape and structure of the teeth on either side of your missing tooth. If you have a virgin or healthy tooth that doesn’t require a restorative treatment, you’re essentially altering otherwise intact tooth enamel. In other words, they can be invasive to teeth that don’t require added reinforcement of a protective crown.
Bridges can usually only replace 1-2 teeth at most and always require a healthy, stable tooth on either side of the open space.
Dental Implant Advantages
Instead of having to reshape healthy teeth, you can use an implant to just replace the missing tooth between them. Dental implants are non-invasive to adjacent teeth and set directly alongside them, preserving natural tooth alignment. They support healthy bone levels and are easy to care for.
Implants can also support an intense amount of pressure, making them capable of replacing practically any tooth in your mouth. Each one boasts a custom porcelain crown to restore the function and appearance of the tooth, making them appropriate for front and back teeth alike.
Last but certainly not least, dental implants can outlast practically every other modern dental restoration. A well-maintained implant is capable of lasting the rest of your life in most cases, whereas a traditional bridge might need to be changed out every 10-15 years or so.
Combining Bridges AND Implants
Do you have several (3-4 or more) teeth in a row that need to be replaced? You can pair dental implants together with a bridge, for a fixed multi-tooth restoration. Dental implant bridges are anchored on either end by an implant while providing a permanent, fixed restoration in that area of your mouth. They essentially eliminate the need to wear a removable partial denture.
If you’re missing all of your teeth or need to have them extracted, a streamlined and hybrid implant-supported extended bridge—such as our TeethXpress treatment—is an excellent option to consider. These fixed treatments utilize as few as four implants per arch to restore all of your teeth at one time.
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