So you’ve decided to take the plunge and give your smile a makeover; you know that the main options available to you include dental implants or a dental bridge. Both of these can be considered as popular permanent changes, but before you make a final decision on which way to go, you will need to know the pros and cons of each.
Dental Implants – What are they?
The implant part is actually the metal – usually titanium – part which is surgically inserted into the jawbone and forms an artificial root to replace the natural root that is lost. This implant supports a new tooth, or crown. You can have single or multiple implants.
Pros of dental implants
- Dental implants can last for many years, a lifetime in some cases. They are very strong and natural looking and the best part is that they function in exactly the same way as your natural teeth so there are almost no restrictions on what kind of food you can eat.
- Dental implants do not impact on the surrounding teeth.
- A dental implant is designed and placed in a way which means they are very stable in the mouth so you will have no worries about anything falling out!
- Dental implants are simple to look after – just treat them as you would your natural teeth.
Cons of dental implants
- The initial implant (root) has to be surgically implanted into your jawbone and this is generally done under local anesthetic. In very rare cases, where there are complications, a general anesthetic is necessary and you would need to be admitted to hospital for this. As with any kind of surgery there are always risks involved such as infection or nerve damage.
- Getting dental implants means that you will have to more than likely pay several visits to your dental surgery. Before the procedure begins you will need x-rays to assess the viability and strength of your jawbone and then the whole procedure from start to finish can take several months depending on quickly the bone heals.
- Implants can be quite expensive depending on how many you need but once done they last for many years.
Dental Bridges – What are they?
A dental bridge is also a permanent (i.e. you don’t take them out as you would a denture) method of replacing teeth but with a slightly shorter lifespan than dental implants. A bridge is used to fill a gap where teeth are missing and can be used to replace one or more teeth. The traditional dental bridge comprises a new tooth made from either ceramic or porcelain which is fixed to a metal support (the bridge) and in turn is permanently fixed over the adjoining teeth.
Pros of dental bridges
- The making of a dental bridge is a much simpler procedure and requires no surgery at all. The procedure is all finished much more quickly than implants and involves initially taking an impression of your teeth in order to make the new teeth look as natural as possible then fitting a temporary tooth to the bridge whilst your permanent teeth are being made.
- A dental bridge is very strong and you will be able to clean your teeth and eat and drink normally.
- Dental bridges are also much cheaper than dental implants.
Cons of dental bridges
- A dental bridge will need replacing after a period of anything between 5 – 15 years.
- Whilst they are made to look as natural as possible, they are not as natural looking as dental implants.
- The teeth adjacent to where the new teeth are to go have to be filed down so are damaged as part of the procedure.
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