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Children and hockey players are expected to lose teeth; everyone else, not so much. Adults with missing teeth must have them replaced one way or another. If not, they stand to suffer serious oral, physical, and mental health consequences.
Missing teeth make a person more susceptible to cavities and gum disease, tooth movement, and more tooth loss. The oral health issues, if left untreated, can lead to overall health issues like diabetes, malnutrition, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease. All-in-all, tooth loss and its consequences can lead to poor self-esteem that diminishes a person’s happiness and satisfaction.
To combat these issues, dentists, like Dr. Abbey J. Lee in Grant Park, offer several restorative options like dental bridges and dental implants. Continue reading to learn about these two options and determine which one is best for your smile.
Dental Bridges: The Basics, Pros, and Cons
There are four types of dental bridges: (1) traditional, (2) cantilever, (3) Maryland, (4) and implant-supported bridges. Dental bridges replacing missing teeth by literally bridging the gap left by a lost tooth.
A traditional dental bridge has two crowns on either side of one, two, or three pontics, a cantilever has only one crown, and a Maryland bridge uses wings instead of crowns. The crowns and wings attach to the patient’s remaining, healthy teeth. An implant-supported bridge attaches to dental implants.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Dental Bridges
When compared to dental implants, dental bridges have distinct advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of a dental bridge over dental implants are:
- Length of treatment: There are typically only two to three appointments required for dental bridge placement. During these appointments, the dentist removes any teeth that cannot be saved (if necessary), takes impressions and designs the dental bridge, the places the bridge.
- Cost: The cost of a dental bridge is significantly less than the cost of a dental implant.
- Recovery process: It may take up to two weeks for patients to adjust to their bridge. Following treatment, patients may feel discomfort for up to three days. There are no significant dietary restrictions following dental bridge placement.
As for disadvantages, dental bridges aren’t as durable, natural-looking or feeling, or as long-lasting as dental implants.
Dental Implants: The Basics, Pros, and Cons
A dental implant is a small, screw-like device that is inserted into the jawbone through the gums. It takes the place of the missing tooth’s tooth root. A crown, bridge, or denture can be attached to it.
Dental implants, considered the most beneficial restorative treatment available, also have disadvantages. However, most dentists and patients would agree that their pros far outweigh their cons.
The advantages of dental implants include:
- Longevity: Dental implants, in nearly all cases, last a lifetime. So, while the initial cost is a disadvantage, the fact that you never have to pay for another one or for follow-up procedures may save money in the long run.
- Durability: Because dental implants replace the missing tooth’s root, they are much more durable than other restorative options. Patients can enjoy all their favorite harder-to-chew foods without worrying about damaging their restoration.
- Bone support: The jawbone and dental implant go through a process called osseointegration. This is the integration of the two substances that secures the implant in place and prevents the deterioration of the jawbone.
- Versatility: Dental implants can be used to replace one missing tooth or an entire row of missing teeth by attaching to different restorations.
The greatest downside to dental implants is that patients must undergo surgery and a long treatment process. For some, that process is six months, but for others, it could last nearly two years. It all depends on each patient’s specific needs. Regardless, the result is the same: a natural-looking and feeling, durable restoration that will stand the test of time.
Bridges and Dental Implants in Grant Park
At Smiles for Grant Park, Dr. Abbey J. Lee offers dental bridges and dental implants to patients who have experienced tooth loss. To learn which option you are a good candidate for, contact our team today at (404) 328-7177.