In order to replace lost teeth or tooth structure, you can either get a dental bridge/crown, or you can rely on dental implants. Do you know the benefits and disadvantages of each option? As both those procedures are rather costly, it helps to understand the basics of both those treatment alternatives.
There is a significant difference between a dental crown/bridge and a dental implant. The dental bridge/crown is used to heal and support a broken down tooth whereas a dental implant is used to replace the entire missing tooth and is then accompanied by crowning. In essence, the dental implant replaces the root and is the only option that serves the purpose for now.
For the majority of people out there, it is easier and quicker to get dental bridges or crowns. The entire procedure will be approximately two to three visits to your dentists. With CADCAM technology, it can even be accomplished in a single sitting. Implants of the other hand, are more complicated. There are cases that require bone grafting, as a minimal level of bone is require to place the implant. After screwing in the implant into the jaw, a period of 2 to 3 months is needed for osseointegration before the crown is put on the implant. Only then is the procedure considered as complete.
Typically when a person loses a tooth, a dental implant is usually implicated. The implant, made out of titanium, resembles the root of a normal tooth and is placed within the normal bone of the jaw. There is, therefore, no reliance on natural teeth on either side, unlike the dental bridges. Once the titanium root is placed inside the bone, it is allowed to heal. The jaw bone normally accepts this implant and osseointegrates with the implant. Osseointergration is a term referring to the fusion of the bone with the implant. Those with implants have said that it feels much more natural having the implant than dentures or even dental bridges.
Regarding long-term benefit and satisfaction, implant trumps over dental bridges or crowns. This is due to the fact that implants require little maintenance. This is one of the biggest differences between this option and dental bridges. Research has shown time and again that high-quality implants can last a lifetime. Dental crowns and bridges will have to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. After more than a decade, you would probably find it a hassle to go back to your dentist to have it re-cemented or remade as the porcelain is subject to wear and tear over the long run.
Of course during the treatment planning process, the dentist would discuss the pros and cons of each option and the final say would be up to the patient. There are few factors to consider and weigh in. The cost would be one of the important issues as implant usually comes with a high price. The material cost itself is pretty expensive, and that is even excluding the service of the dentist.
Technological advances have made implant placement much convenient now. There are systems that are safe and efficient for both the patient and the dentist. Brands such as Osteem and Straumann are the leading manufacturers of implants. It is important to know that follow up service is provided from the dentist as a responsible dentist would need to conduct review sessions regularly to monitor the implant condition.