When is a three unit bridge better than a single tooth implant?

Are you looking for options for missing teeth in Arlington, VA?  Call Arlington Advanced Dental Care today to speak with your dentist in Arlington, VA about your options with a dental bridge and dental implant.

With many dental options to choose from today, you as the consumer might be confused between the choices. The questions you need to ask your dentist or prosthodontist are a bit different today: What’s the difference between a dental bridge vs. implant?

One of the major issues with implants is that your jaws continue to grow vertically well into your retirement, and your teeth grow with your jaws, so they fit against each other. Implants do not. The growth of teeth neighboring your implant(s) although little (between .9mm-2+mm over ten years) it can be quite noticeable in some regions of the mouth and the growth can be more pronounced if you are relatively young (~the mid-20s) when you get an implant.

This means that the gum around the implant will stay at the height it’s at, the implant may look submerged compared to other teeth, and may no longer have the correct angulation compared to it’s neighbors (more famous with teeth in the front of your mouth). The angulation and height problems can be fixed by replacing the implant, but the gum height is going to be that way. Bottom-line your implant crown will probably need to be replaced at some point in your life, so it is in harmony with your other teeth.

Bridges, on the other hand, are supported by natural teeth and will grow vertically with your jaws. Since they are stuck on with cement they will need to be kept immaculate (they can be harder to clean than implants) and they too will need to be replaced with time since they will wear out. Unfortunately, to create a bridge and also to remake them teeth need to be prepared by removing tooth structure something not required with implants.

Well designed bridges and implants both look great (often other procedures are needed to prepare the sites for each), but many factors need to be considered to determine the right choice. This question is best answered by your dentist, or dentists who can see you in person, and examine the area of the mouth where the treatment is indicated.

In conclusion, both options have their pros and cons. The advantages of dental implants are their esthetic, functional, predictable, reliable characteristics that do not affect adjacent teeth, does not decay and less likely to develop gum disease. On the other hand, they can be more expensive, require more planning time, with minor surgery, and at times needs healing time before permanent tooth replacement. You would be considering a dental bridge when you want a less costly option that requires less time for the final result. In general, if money and time were not factors, I recommend implants over bridges, but each situation has its challenges and solutions. Only your dentist can help you in this particular case.