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 a quick solution used for years as the standard of care for missing teeth. Ental Implant technology improved, and fewer bridges were being made since healthy teeth 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 further procedures like root canal treatment. We expect that the average bridge will last ten years, maximum. Usually, when a bridge fails, the entire bridge must be removed or replaced, the teeth cleaned or prepared again, and a new impression(mold) taken. We expect that these teeth can get weaker with each bridge failure.

Costs-wise, a dental bridge and dental implant for a single missing space are roughly equal in price. You would have paid for a dental implant at an equivalent cost when replacing one bridge. 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 longevity without needing 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. Patients struggle to clean underneath a bridge since floss cannot be passed from the top. A bridge is also a significant food trap underneath the artificial tooth.

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

We generally consider a bridge an excellent 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. Also, our treatment plan for an elderly patient might differ from that 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 your free dental implant consultation in Bowmanville, please get in touch with us at 905-697-1118

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