Dental Implants vs. Bridges and Dentures: Which is Right for You?
Modern dentistry offers many potential solutions for issues related to your teeth and overall oral health.
Dental implants, bridges, and dentures can all effectively replace damaged or missing teeth. They offer cosmetic benefits while also making it easier to do things like eat, and even speak clearly.
However, there are many differences between these treatment options. Durability, cost, ease of use, and many other factors can all vary.
Let’s take a closer look at dental implants, bridges, and dentures, so you can make an informed decision about your oral health.
Dentures, Bridges, and Dental Implants: What Are They?
Dentures are removable dental prosthetics used to replace missing teeth and surrounding tissues. They are custom-made to fit the individual's mouth and are typically made from a combination of acrylic resin and sometimes metal components. Dentures can be complete, replacing all teeth in either the upper or lower jaw, or partial, replacing only a few missing teeth.
A dental bridge is a fixed dental restoration that replaces one or more missing teeth. It consists of a false tooth (pontic) anchored to adjacent natural teeth or dental implants using dental crowns. The natural teeth or implants on either side of the gap act as abutments to support the bridge. Dental bridges are cemented in place and are not removable by the patient.
Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement option that involves the surgical placement of a titanium post into the jawbone. The implant fuses with the bone through a process called osseointegration, providing a stable foundation for a dental crown to be placed on top. Implants function and look like natural teeth and offer long-term durability. They can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or even an entire arch with implant-supported dentures.
What are they key differences?
Dentures are removable, allowing the wearer to take them out for cleaning and while sleeping. Bridges and dental implants are fixed and non-removable.
Dental implants are the most stable option as they are surgically anchored in the jawbone, mimicking the function of natural teeth. Bridges rely on the support of adjacent teeth or implants, while dentures rest on the gums and may require adhesives for stability.
Dental implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing bone loss and preserving facial structure. Dentures and bridges do not provide the same level of stimulation, which can lead to bone resorption over time.
Dental implants provide the most natural-looking appearance, closely resembling natural teeth in both form and function. Bridges can also provide good aesthetics, but the appearance of dentures can sometimes be less realistic, especially if they are not properly fitted.
Dentures are generally the most affordable option, followed by bridges. Dental implants tend to be the most expensive due to the surgical procedure and materials involved.
Denture, Dental Bridge, or Dental Implant: Which Solution is Right for You?
Advantages: Stability, durability, and natural appearance. They integrate with the jawbone, preventing bone loss and preserving facial structure.
Disadvantages: However, the procedure requires surgery, and the healing process can take time. Dental implants are generally suitable for individuals with good oral health, sufficient jawbone density, and who are willing to undergo a surgical procedure.
Advantages: Dental bridges provide a fixed solution for replacing missing teeth. They offer good aesthetics and restore chewing function.
Disadvantages: However, bridges rely on the support of adjacent teeth, which may require those teeth to be modified by dental crowns. Bridges also do not prevent bone loss in the jaw. Dental bridges are suitable for individuals with healthy teeth adjacent to the gap and who prefer a non-removable tooth replacement option.
Advantages: Dentures are a removable option for replacing missing teeth. They are less invasive and more affordable than implants or bridges.
Disadvantages: Dentures may require adjustments, can affect speech and taste sensations, and may become loose over time. Dentures are suitable for individuals with multiple missing teeth or those who are not ideal candidates for implants or bridges due to oral health issues, insufficient bone density, or budget constraints.
Advantage of an Implant over a Bridge:
The main advantage of dental implants over bridges is their ability to replace missing teeth without relying on adjacent teeth for support. Implants provide a stand-alone solution and do not require modification of neighboring teeth. Additionally, implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing bone loss and maintaining facial structure.
Candidates for Dental Bridges:
Good candidates for dental bridges are individuals with healthy teeth adjacent to the gap, sufficient bone support, and overall good oral health. They should be willing to undergo the necessary dental preparations and have realistic expectations regarding the results.
When to Get Dentures:
It makes sense to consider dentures when an individual has multiple missing teeth, insufficient bone density for implants, or oral health issues that make them unsuitable for implants or bridges. Dentures are also a suitable option for individuals seeking a more affordable tooth replacement solution or those who prefer a removable option.
If you have any questions or concerns, it's always a great idea to speak with a Dentist who can walk your through the details of each option and discuss pricing and insurance. Come see us at Dentologie!