Dental bridges and implants are great options for those who are missing teeth and want to fill in the gaps in their smile with natural-looking false teeth. But what’s the difference between a bridge and dental implant?
A dental bridge is used to replace one or more missing teeth. Bridges are made by creating crowns for the teeth on either side of the space where the missing teeth are and putting a fake tooth between the crowns. The crowns holding the dental bridge appliance can be supported by implants, natural teeth, or a combination of both.
Dental bridges are fitted into your mouth over a number of visits. First, we’ll need to reshape the adjacent teeth at either side of the gap so a crown can be fitted and the framework can be attached. If you don’t have healthy teeth near the gap, you’ll need to get implants. Then, we’ll take an impression of your teeth so that we can make the crowns. While you’re waiting for the crowns to be made, we’ll provide you with temporary crowns. Once the crowns are ready, we’ll remove the temporary crowns and cement the permanent ones in position.
Dental implants can also be used to fill in the gaps left behind from missing teeth, but are a more long-term solution as they can last 35+ years. As opposed to bridges, which usually last anywhere from 10-15 years. Dental implants are anchored directly into the jaw bone and look similar to screws. Made of titanium and other strong materials, dental implants fuse to the jawbone and gum tissue to create a stable base for restorations such as crowns or dentures. The restoration is then affixed to the implant, blending in seamlessly with your smile and restoring functionality.
Before you undergo surgery to place the implants, we’ll evaluate your bone density to make sure that your jawbone can withstand implants. If everything checks out, we’ll place the implant chairside using a mild to moderate anesthetic for a procedure that lasts about one to two hours. The procedure involves drilling a small hole in the jaw, inserting the implant, and placing the temporary crown on top. Once the bone tissue has fused with the implant (usually in about 3 to 6 months), we’ll attach the abutment which provides the connection between the prosthetic crown and titanium implant. Finally, a few weeks later, we’ll remove the temporary crown and fit the permanent crown. If you have more questions about the difference between dental bridges and implants or would like to look into some restorations for yourself, give us a call today!