patient with dental technology Durham Dental Solutions

Dental Implant or a Bridge? How to Choose?

Traditionally, a bridge involves reducing or ‘shaving’ down the teeth beside the missing tooth to support the bridge.  The advantage is that a bridge is quick solution that was done for years as the standard of care for missing teeth.  As Dental Implant technology improved, less bridges were being made since healthy teeth were needed to be damaged to support the bridge.

We often find that teeth supporting a bridge are much more prone to decay(cavities) and need for further procedures like root canal treatment.  We can expect that the average bridge would last 10 years maximum.  Usually when a bridge has a failure , the entire bridge has to be removed or replaced, the teeth cleaned or prepared again and a new impression(mold) taken.  We can expect that these teeth can get weaker with each failure of a bridge.

Costs wise, a dental bridge and dental implant for a single missing space are roughly equal in cost.  In the time span of needing to replace one bridge, you would have paid for a dental implant at an equivalent cost value.  Often people only want what is covered by dental insurance companies. Unfortunately the trend is that dental insurance companies still run a business and options such as these are sometimes not covered.  We like to think of the best option that can also give you the longevity without needing for replacement as often.

Here is a case that illustrates what happens with a typical bridge, The red circles indicate areas of decay underneath the bridge. In general, patients have a hard time cleaning underneath a bridge since floss cannot be passed from the top. A bridge also is a major food trap underneath the artificial tooth.

When given the choices, the patient did not wish for a new bridge. With age, we all lose a bit of our dexterity and cleaning underneath a bridge becomes very difficult. A single implant is the most ideal replacement option. We can see that 2 new crowns have also been fabricated for the teeth adjacent to area. Note also that an implant in the healing phase was also placed above to replace another missing tooth.

We generally consider a bridge as a good first choice if the area with a missing space has teeth adjacent to it that are heavily restored( big fillings), in that case these teeth would benefit from full coverage with crowns.  As well, our treatment plan for an elderly patient might differ than for a younger patient, as the expected longevity of a bridge (10 years) plays a factor and the need to wait for 2-3 months of healing after a dental implant is placed.

For more information or for your free dental implant consultation in Bowmanville, please contact us at 905-697-1118

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