Sometimes the old-fashioned ways trump trending practices. That is because while you can sometimes make something attractive, you can't always make it better in the long run than the tried and true.
For instance, you may have heard a lot about dental implants. They are rumored to be the perfect choice for missing teeth, a near-utopian option for a glamorous smile. However, implants are not a simple procedure. Further, their cost is prohibitive for many people and often not covered by dental insurance.
An old saying, "Sometimes all that glitters is not gold," may be worth remembering if you need to replace missing teeth. The dental bridge—a long-established restorative procedure—may actually be the most feasible choice for you.
Defining terms: implant vs. bridge
A dental implant is a titanium post that is embedded in the jawbone. The post bonds to the bone and forms an artificial tooth root. A crown, created to match the shape and shade of your natural teeth, is fitted to the top of the post.
A dental bridge is a false tooth, which does not break the gum line, attached to crowns on adjacent natural teeth. The crowns hold it in place. As with an implant, the tooth is made to look as much as possible like those which surround it.
Advantages of dental bridges
There are four main advantages to replacing missing teeth with a dental bridge rather than implants.
1. Lower cost. Dental bridges cost significantly less than implants. Although many factors will influence the total cost of your bridge, such as whether or not the adjacent teeth need root canals or fillings, the average cost for each tooth is $700-1500. When you consider that each dental implant costs $1500-7500 (depending on the material used and other treatment considerations), dental bridges are by far the most economical choice.
2. Quicker completion. Dental implants require several visits over three to six months. Dental bridges, on the other hand, can be completed in two or three visits.
3. Easier placement. A dental implant requires oral surgery; the dentist must drill into the jawbone and place the post to which the crown will be attached. Dental bridges, on the other hand, are fitted without any invasive techniques.
4. Fewer complications. Dental implants can sometimes involve complications such as infection at the surgical site, nerve damage, and sinus problems. One emerging problem is a bacterial infection called peri-implantitis, called a "time bomb" by one dental surgeon; up to one-third of implant patients may face this complication that surfaces years after implant placement.
While dental bridges are not without complications, such as allergic reaction to the crown materials or cold/heat sensitivity, they are minor compared to the ones experienced by implant patients. Alerting your dentist to known allergies in advance of the procedure will allow him/her to choose a material that won't bother you. Brushing with a toothpaste that decreases sensitivity can alleviate that complication.
Dental implants require healthy bone structure. If you have experienced bone loss due to infection or advanced gum disease, an implant is inadvisable. For this reason, many people with bone damage opt for the simplicity of dental bridges.
Though they may not be as flashy a choice as dental implants, advertised at every turn, bridges are the tried and true choice for replacing missing teeth. Because of their lower cost, quicker completion, and easier placement, bridges are a better choice than expensive implants that require a lot of chair time. Because they do not necessitate healthy bone tissue or involve oral surgery, almost anyone is a good candidate. Lastly, because they result in fewer post-procedure complications, bridges are safer than implants.
Don't be swayed by the trends; in this case, an older method is the better method. Visit resources like http://rosecitydental.com/ to learn more about your options.