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Dental Implants vs. Bridges: What’s Best for Your Smile Restoration?

When you’re missing teeth, it can affect more than just your appearance. Chewing food becomes difficult, speaking may feel different, and you might even feel self-conscious about smiling. But don’t worry—there are solutions available to help restore your smile and confidence.

Dental implants and bridges are two common treatments in Adelaide for replacing missing teeth, and they both offer unique advantages. The question is which is the right option for you?

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are basically artificial tooth roots that replace missing teeth. They have three parts: the implant, the abutment, and the crown or prosthetic tooth. 

The implant is a small titanium post that’s surgically placed into your jawbone. An abutment is attached to it after it’s fused with the jawbone. The final step involves attaching a customised dental crown or prosthetic tooth to the abutment. 

One of the many advantages of implants is their durability. They almost feel and function like your natural teeth and can last for up to 20 years. Dental implants make it easier for you to chew, talk, and smile because they’re strong and stable. They also promote bone growth in the jawbone, which helps keep it healthy. 

What are Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges are fixed prosthetic devices used to replace missing teeth. They literally “bridge” the gap between one or two missing teeth. It is typically made out of various materials, including porcelain, ceramic, metal alloys, or a combination of these materials.

They consist of two main components: the pontic, which is the artificial tooth, and the abutments, which are the supporting structures attached to the neighbouring teeth. Unlike dental implants, which are surgically implanted into the jawbone, bridges rely on the support of adjacent teeth or dental implants for stability.

Getting a dental bridge in our Adelaide practice typically involves several steps:

  1. Preparation: We start by scanning the area instead of using messy impressions. The adjacent teeth on either side of the gap are then prepared by removing a portion of their enamel to accommodate the bridge.
  2. Fabrication: Using the scans as a guide, we can create your bridge right here in our practice. In some cases, your bridge can be made and fitted in just one day, with no need for multiple visits.
  3. Placement: Once the bridge is ready, it is cemented onto the prepared adjacent teeth or attached to dental implants, filling the gap and restoring your smile. We will ensure the bridge matches the colour, shape, and size of your natural teeth for a flawless appearance.

One of the advantages of bridges is their non-invasive nature. They are generally more straightforward and less complex compared to dental implant procedures, avoiding the need for invasive surgery.

dentist showing a dental bridge in a teeth mould to a patient

What is the Difference Between Dental Implants and Bridges?

If you’re missing teeth and wondering which option is best, you might ask, “Is bridging better than implants? Or vice versa?” It’s a common question because both methods have their pros and cons and provide different outcomes. 

The primary difference between the two is their placement and method of support. Implants are surgically implanted into the jawbone. This provides exceptional stability and durability akin to your natural teeth roots. Bridges, on the other hand, rely on adjacent teeth or implants for support, making them a less invasive option.

To help you understand better, here’s a breakdown of the differences between dental implants and bridges:

Placement

With dental implants, titanium posts are surgically placed into your jawbone. This process needs enough bone density and healing time for proper integration. Bridges, however, don’t need surgery in the jawbone. Instead, they rely on adjacent teeth or implants for support, with your bridge dentist preparing these teeth by removing some enamel.

Stability and Durability

Implants provide exceptional stability and durability almost the same as the root of your natural tooth. They give a strong foundation for prosthetic teeth, ensuring comfortable chewing and speaking.

While dental bridges are stable, they depend on the strength of adjacent teeth or implants. Their longevity may depend on the health of these neighbouring teeth.

Bone Preservation

Tooth implants stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss by acting like natural tooth roots. This helps preserve jawbone density and facial structure. 

Alternatively, bridges don’t provide the same bone stimulation as implants since they don’t interact directly with the jawbone. Bone resorption may occur over time.

Invasiveness and Affordability

Implants involve surgery and a longer healing period. They often come with a higher initial cost too. The cost of dental implants depends on factors such as the number of implants needed and any extra procedures like bone grafting.

Dental bridges are a less invasive option, not requiring surgery in the jawbone. They tend to be more affordable upfront.

Aesthetics

Dental implants offer a natural-looking smile, with prosthetic teeth individually attached to the implant posts. Bridges can also provide a lifelike appearance, but the reliance on adjacent teeth or implants may limit some aesthetic options.

woman lying on dentist chair asking dentist about dental implants and bridges

How to Choose the Right Option For You

When deciding between dental implants and bridges, several factors should be taken into account. Ultimately, choosing the right option boils down to your oral health, budget, aesthetic preferences, and your lifestyle. 

  • Your oral health. Your dentist will assess your gums and jawbone. Dental implants require adequate bone density to support the metal implants, whereas bridges can work even if there’s bone loss.

  • Budget. Think about your finances. Dental implants may have a higher upfront cost, but they offer better long-term value due to their durability. On the other hand, bridges are more affordable initially but may need replacement sooner, affecting your long-term expenses.

  • Aesthetics and functionality. Both options aim for a natural appearance, but dental implants closely resemble natural teeth and provide superior functionality.

  • Your lifestyle and age. Consider your lifestyle and age when making your decision. Implants offer stability and durability, ideal for younger, active individuals. However, bridges might be preferable for older individuals or those seeking a less invasive option.

We Can Help You Make the Right Choice

The best way to decide between the two is by consulting with your dentist. They can offer personalised advice tailored to your unique needs and preferences, taking into account factors such as your oral health, lifestyle, and aesthetic goals.

If you’re looking to get dental implants or bridges in Adelaide, our friendly dentists at Perfect Smile can help you make the right choice. Call us on (08) 8210 9414 or book your appointment online for a consultation.

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