What are dental bridges?
Dental bridges are fixed dental appliances that literally "bridge" the gap left by missing teeth. They are used to replace one or more missing teeth. Since they are permanently attached to the teeth on either side of the gap, they can only be safely removed by a dentist. They may also be referred to as "permanent partial dentures."
Caring for Dental Bridges
Once your dental bridge has been installed, you can treat it in the same way that you would treat your natural teeth. Dental bridges can last for many years if cared for with proper brushing and flossing, as well as regular visits to the dentist.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is a small titanium rod that is surgically implanted into the jaw bone to serve as an artificial tooth root. Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth. Titanium is a type of metal that can form bonds with natural bone, making it a secure and stable foundation for an artificial tooth. A dental crown (or cap) is then placed on top of the implant to serve as the artificial tooth replacement.
When used together, the dental crown and implant have a very similar appearance and feel to a natural tooth.
Caring for Dental Implants
Like with bridges, dental implants should be cared for just like your natural teeth. This consists of a strong brushing and flossing routine and regular visits to the dentist.
Choosing the Right Option for You
Dental implants and dental bridges both have their advantages, and the best option for any given person will depend on that person's oral health needs as well as his or her financial situation.
The placement of dental implants is significantly more invasive than the placement of dental bridges. However, dental implants can often appear and feel more natural than dental bridges.
For the dental implant procedure to be successful, you must have a sufficient volume of jaw bone. If you don't have enough bone in your jaw, you may still be able to get an implant, but you would need to undergo a bone grafting procedure first to ensure that the implant could be supported. As a result, the implant process is more invasive and will take longer to complete.
At the end of the day, the only way to determine which tooth replacement option is best for you is to consult with your dentist.