You may know that losing baby teeth is a normal process of growing, but did you know that losing adult teeth is not as uncommon as you think? In fact, according to the global Foundation for Oral Rehabilitation (FOR), nearly 70% of adults ages 35-44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease or tooth decay. This is just middle aged adults. When it comes to older populations, missing teeth are even more common. One survey revealed that 26% of adults older than 74 have lost all of their permanent teeth.
Thus, losing permanent teeth isn’t uncommon. But if this has happened to you, take heart knowing there are several ways to restore your smile. Tooth bridges and implants are two of the most common methods used to replace missing teeth. At Piedmont Oaks Dental, we specialize in both replacement options. Read on to learn more about how they differ and which option might be right for you.
Tooth Implant: Defined
Implants are artificial teeth made from titanium. The fake tooth includes an artificial root mounted to your jawbone with screws to secure it in place. Surgery, done in conjunction with an oral surgeon, is required to mount each implant. Once the implant is attached, the root fuses with your jawbone and surrounding tissue, and then the gum will grow around it as it permanently attaches to your jaw.
Tooth Bridge: Defined
Bridges are comprised of several artificial teeth made from porcelain or plastic. Instead of being screwed into your jawbone, the bridge stays in place by attaching to surrounding teeth. Unlike tooth implants, surgery is not necessary for the bridge to remain attached, as there is no artificial root in a tooth bridge.
Tooth Implants vs. Tooth Bridges: Their Differences
There are many things to consider when deciding if an implant or bridge is the best solution for your missing tooth or teeth. Your dentist should provide guidance on which option is better for your unique situation, even offering alternative options if applicable. We always recommend consulting with your dentist when considering implants vs. bridges. In the meantime, here are some factors to think about.
Overall, implants look more natural than tooth bridges, but that doesn’t mean tooth bridges look bad. Because tooth implants are rooted to your jawbone, the gum can grow around the tooth, making it look like a natural extension of your smile. Dental bridges can still look natural, especially with today’s technology, but may be more noticeable in the gum area.
It takes longer to get a dental implant than it does to get a bridge. With a bridge, it will be ready to go after just two or so visits to your dentist. By contrast, implants take longer, including a one to two hour surgery to fix the implant to your jaw.
In general, dental insurance is more likely to cover a tooth bridge than a tooth implant. Thus, dental bridges are often a more affordable option.
On average, tooth implants last about 25 years, but with proper care, they can last even longer. Tooth bridges have a much shorter lifespan, lasting anywhere from five to 15 years, depending on the materials used and how much care you give them.
There is no recovery time for bridges because no surgery is required. Tooth implants, however, have a recovery time of two to six months to heal because surgery is involved. During this time, the implant merges with surrounding bone tissue and permanently attaches to your jaw.
Can You Use Them Together?
Tooth bridges and implants aren’t mutually exclusive. If you have multiple missing teeth, especially in various areas of your mouth, your dentist may suggest an approach that includes both bridges and implants. The two replacement methods can work in conjunction to create a beautiful smile.
Do you live in Piedmont, California, Oakland, or the surrounding area and need a tooth bridge or tooth implant? Piedmont Oaks Dental can help. We can examine your teeth and offer recommendations on the best plan for you. Whether you are a first-time or long-time patient, our compassionate and skilled staff will make you feel right at home from the moment you step inside our office. Call (510) 549-0133 today to schedule an appointment.
Other Restorative Dentistry Services at Piedmont Oaks Dental
In addition to tooth bridges and tooth implants, we also offer a wide range of other restorative dentistry treatments, including:
- TMJ treatment
- Tooth crowns
- Cavity fillings
- Root canals
- Implant crowns
- Implant dentures
- Tooth extractions
- Traumatic dental injuries
We can restore your oral health and function regardless of the state of your dental health!