Bridges and implants are excellent choices to replace missing teeth. They both improve your smile, help you retain your facial shape, and improve your oral health. They both eliminate imperfections and reduce or prevent tooth pain. Which is right for you?
At his practice in Walnut Creek, California, Dr. William M. Schneider is an expert in implants and bridges. He can help you choose whether a bridge or an implant works best for you.
What is a bridge?
A bridge is a prosthetic dental appliance that fills in a space between two teeth — bridging the gap. When you’ve got one missing tooth, a bridge replaces it with an artificial tooth attached to adjacent teeth or, sometimes, an implant.
The bridge works by inserting crowns over your natural teeth with a replacement tooth between them, all in one appliance.
Do I need a bridge?
A bridge can:
- Prevent other teeth from moving
- Improve your speech
- Restore your smile
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Restore chewing ability
There are four types of bridges. Dr. Schneider helps you choose which bridge is best for you based on your unique dental needs.
A traditional bridge is the most common, using one or more prosthetic teeth to form the bridge. This kind of bridge is ideal when you have natural teeth bordering your missing tooth or teeth.
A cantilever bridge only uses one prosthetic tooth and is what Dr. Schneider suggests if you have only one natural tooth bordering the gap. The cantilever bridge gets support from only one natural tooth instead of two.
An implant-supported bridge is a great solution to multiple missing teeth. Dental implants anchor the bridge on each side of the gap, ensuring extra stability.
A Maryland bridge doesn’t use crowns to hold a bridge in place. Instead, they’re made of prosthetic teeth held together by porcelain or metal framework.
What is an implant?
An implant is an alternative to dental bridges that uses a surgically implanted artificial tooth and tooth root to replace a tooth (or teeth) that’s missing or needs to come out because of decay.
Implants are durable and stable, and they look and function just like your natural teeth. With proper care, they last a lifetime.
Do I need an implant?
A dental implant can:
- Improve your oral health
- Prevent gum disease
- Eliminate tooth pain
- Improve your smile
- Preserve your jawbone and function
- Replace dentures
- Save you money and time
Implant placement is a minor surgical procedure using local anesthesia. Dr. Schneider removes the damaged tooth and root, replacing it with a titanium post. He tracks your healing for up to a few months to make sure the post fuses to your jawbone, a process known as osseointegration.
Once the new tooth root is stable, Dr. Schneider attaches an abutment that holds an artificial tooth, or crown. To protect the treatment site, you first get a temporary crown. Once the permanent prosthetic implant is ready, it’s cemented in place.
Which is right for you: Bridge or implant?
Whether you choose a bridge or an implant depends on the state of your oral health, the time you’re ready to commit to a procedure, and your budget. Implants are more costly than bridges.
Bridges don’t require osseointegration and might be a better alternative if you have a weak or thin jawbone. A bridge is a much faster method for having a tooth replaced, but it won’t last a lifetime, as an implant can with proper care.
Implants place a lesser burden on your surrounding natural teeth, and they promote healing of underlying structures like your bones and gums.
To talk with Dr. Schneider about whether a bridge or implant is right for you, call us at 925-935-2700 or book your appointment using our convenient online scheduling tool.