A missing tooth can put a hole in more than your confidence.
Gaps in your smile aren't just a problem for aesthetic reasons; they can affect the way you eat and speak, plus your remaining teeth can be put under pressure to move so they shift out of place. Replacing missing teeth is important to restore your smile to its true brilliance, and to make sure you can talk and chew properly.
Fortunately, there are several solutions to the problem of missing teeth. Dental implants and dental bridges are both practical ways to have you smiling again. Let's take a closer look at these two options to see which one might be right for you.
Missing teeth can affect the way you eat and speak.
Dental bridges can replace missing teeth and prevent your teeth from shifting.
What is a dental bridge?
This treatment involves using a bridge-like appliance to replace missing teeth. Dental bridges can restore your ability to chew and speak comfortably. They also improve your smile cosmetically by filling in empty spaces, and they help to maintain the shape of your face.
Dental bridges also play an important role in preventing the teeth on either side of any spaces from moving. Leaving spaces in your teeth untreated can lead to even more dental problems, as it can destabilise your bite.
In order to get a dental bridge, you need healthy 'anchor' teeth on either side of the gap.
A 'fixed' bridge is attached to the teeth on either side of the gap. In order to get a dental bridge, you need strong 'anchor' teeth as well as healthy gums. The bridge is made up of the false tooth and two crowns for the teeth on either side.
What are the advantages of a dental bridge?
Dental bridges are an enduring treatment, lasting up to 15 years. They are a flexible option as a bridge can used in situations of single tooth loss, or in places where you have lost more than one tooth. This kind of treatment involves the teeth on either side of the gap, using a false tooth and two crowns which cap the adjacent teeth.
Because of this, dental bridges work especially well if the teeth on either side of the space have large fillings and may benefit from crowns, as you will get the added benefit of strengthening these adjacent teeth. They can also be the best choice if you have been missing a tooth for a long time and the gum and bone have receded, making a dental implant more difficult.
Dental implants are often the most reliable option for replacing teeth.
What is a dental implant?
When the 'anchor' teeth available on either side of a space are healthy with no fillings, dental implants may be a better choice than dental bridges.
Dental implants are used to replace an individual tooth. They are made up of a titanium rod that acts like the root, and a crown that is attached to the top and mimics a regular tooth. The metal rod is placed in the bone to hold the implant firmly in place. This arrangement closely resembles the natural structure of your teeth, so you can bite and chew confidently.
What are the advantages of a dental implant?
One of the major benefits of dental implants over dental bridges is that they don't compromise the teeth either side of the space. There is no need to prepare the adjacent teeth for a dental implant, so these teeth stay strong and healthy.
Implants have a very pleasing aesthetic result, as they can often be made to blend in seamlessly with the teeth either side. Because they look and feel like your natural teeth, you'll be able to smile, speak and eat confidently and with ease. You'll also never have to worry about implants coming loose – in fact, thanks to their strong metal core, dental implants are more durable than dental bridges and can last a lifetime.
Dental implants are convenient for oral hygiene as they are easy to look after. They don't require any special care other than your regular brushing and flossing routine.
Implants prevent your bone from receding, something that normally occurs when you're missing teeth. This helps keep your facial structures intact, stopping your face from collapsing.
Which one is right for you?
Both dental bridges and dental implants can be used to address the problem of missing teeth. The best way to decide which option will work best for you is to come in for an appointment, where we can answer your questions and examine your situation. Based on our analysis, we will help you choose the best treatment for you.