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Dental Bridge vs. Implant: What's the Best Way to Replace a Tooth?

best way to replace teethHave you lost a tooth? Whether you're missing one tooth or several teeth, your dentist will recommend filling the gap.

As well as affecting your appearance, a gap in your smile could make it more it difficult to eat, affect your speech or lead to the surrounding teeth shifting position and going crooked. You could also be at greater risk of tooth decay and gum disease if food or plaque get trapped in the gaps.

If you want a more permanent tooth replacement option than dentures, your dentist can discuss the pros and cons of implants and bridges. Either option can fill the empty space and restore the look and function of your smile.

Dental bridge: pros and cons

A dental bridge is an artificial tooth or several teeth in a row, designed by your dentist to blend in with your natural teeth. These are usually made from porcelain (ceramic) for a natural-looking appearance, but other options include porcelain fused to metal (PFM) and metal bridges.

Bridges are attached to the teeth on either side. This is usually done by fitting crowns over these teeth, but some types of bridges can be supported by a crown on just one side, or by metal clasps behind the teeth.

Pros

  • Fixed alternative to dentures
  • Cheaper than dental implants
  • Doesn't usually require surgery

Cons

  • May involve making alterations to healthy teeth by placing crowns
  • Doesn't usually last as long as an implant before it needs to be replaced
  • Doesn't support new bone growth in the jaw

Dental implant: pros and cons

A dental implant is the only treatment that replaces the entire tooth, including the tooth root below the gum. Implants are secured in the jaw by a dentist or oral surgeon. Over several months, the bone heals around the implant to make it secure, then a crown, bridge or denture is fitted over the top.

To be eligible for a dental implant, there must be enough bone mass in your jaw. If your jaw is too small, your dentist can discuss bone grafting or alternative treatments.

Pros

  • Feels more like a natural tooth
  • Supports your jaw and face
  • Lasts longer than a bridge when you look after your oral health

Cons

  • Costs more than a bridge or dentures
  • More clinical risks as oral surgery is involved
  • Longer treatment time as the jaw needs to heal around the implant, unless you choose full arch implants

Do I have to replace a tooth?

You don't always have to replace a lost tooth, but we recommend it to prevent problems such as teeth shifting and to lower your oral health risks. If you lose a number of teeth, this could start to affect your ability to eat normally and get the nutrition you need.

Talk to a dentist in Sydney CBD

Want to know more about dental implants, bridges and other options for replacing teeth? Book a consultation with our Sydney dentists to find out everything you need to know to make a fully informed decision.

Call our friendly team today on (02) 9232 3900 or make an appointment online.

References

Healthdirect. Dental bridge procedure [Online] 2019 [Accessed October 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dental-bridge-procedure

Healthdirect. Dental implant procedure [Online] 2019 [Accessed October 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dental-implant