We all dread losing teeth, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Replacing missing teeth is often vital for three reasons:
It ensures other teeth don’t move around to fill the space, which can lead to problems
A suitable replacement ensures you can talk and chew properly
It gives you back your natural smile!
The standard routes to replace missing teeth are bridges or implants. Which of these treatment options is right for you? Alkali Dental Studios are here to help with a down-to-earth analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of both routes.
Dental bridges: pros and cons
Fixed dental bridges are permanent fixtures that literally bridge the gap between remaining natural teeth. Their advantages mean dental bridges are considered to be the classic route to missing tooth replacement because they look natural and are stable for chewing etc. Bridges have some downsides too: first, the existing teeth to which the bridge will attach must be filed down to have the prosthetic fitted. This can lead to more plaque build-up, decay and gum disease in the neighbouring teeth. As a worst case scenario this can mean root canal work in the adjoining teeth will one day be necessary. Choosing a bridge also requires there to be healthy adjacent teeth to which the bridge can be anchored.
When a bridge is the best option
If there is jaw bone loss or significant damage a fixed dental bridge is the recommended treatment. It results in a more straightforward procedure with less pain and often with less expense.
Dental implants: pros and cons
Dental implants are actually reconstructions, they rebuild a missing tooth over a series of appointments. The process begins with inserting a titanium screw into the jaw, to serve as an anchor on which the crown of the replacement tooth will be placed. While in some cases the implant, or artificial root and the crown can be fitted on the same day, in most circumstances the implant will be left to integrate itself with the jaw bone over a period of time.
When implants are the best option
The benefits to opting for an implant include the fact that adjoining teeth are unaffected which gives a better chance of long-term oral health. Implants can be used to replace more than one missing tooth, which may be a significant consideration.
Costs, treatment constraints, dental considerations
When assessing the choice between bridges and implants it can be easy to assume that a bridge is more economical as the base cost for an implant is generally similar to the highest likely cost for a bridge, and implants can often rise to several hundred pounds more – but cost is not the only consideration. An implant is likely to be a much better long-term option for your all round dental health, and may work out cheaper when you take into account the cost of potential root canal and other work related to the lifetime of a fixed bridge.
Your dentist is best placed to assess whether you are a suitable candidate for implant treatment and advise you on the best route to assure your long term dental well-being. Contact the Alkali Dental Studios team in Putney, South West London, to explore which system would be best for you.