If you're missing a tooth and need to have it replaced, you may be trying to decide between a dental implant and a dental bridge. This guide will highlight the differences between the two and help you to choose the solution that's right for you.
Dental Bridges Require Healthy Teeth
Dental bridges work the way they sound: a crown is placed on top of where the missing tooth used to be, and it's held in place by being connected to the healthy teeth on either side of it. However, the teeth on either side need to be shaved down and have new crowns put on top of them to equally distribute the pressure over the replacement tooth.
A dental implant doesn't rely upon surrounding teeth to support it: it's inserted into your jawline, like the roots of a real tooth, so it can support itself. This also means it's more versatile, since you can have multiple dental implants next to each other if there are multiple missing teeth. Dental bridges can't be placed if there aren't healthy teeth to support the new crown.
Dental Bridges Need Special Care
Dental bridges and dental implants need to be kept clean just like normal teeth and don't require any special brushing method to keep them clean.
However, dental bridges do require a special flossing method to clean them. When you floss on the ends of the bridge, simply snapping the floss out like you might with a regular tooth could potentially loosen the bridge. Sliding the floss out gently is necessary for the bridge to stay in place. Additionally, bacteria and food particles can build up under the crown that replaced the missing tooth, and it requires a special tool to slide under and clean the area.
Since a dental implant is just like a regular tooth, it doesn't require any special methods for flossing. You can just floss around it like you would all of your teeth.
Dental Implants Have An Additional Benefit
A study has shown that dental implants can actually help to regrow bone in the jaw. Over time, the jaw accepts the dental implant like an actual tooth and grows new bone around the root of the implant, fusing and holding it in place just like a normal tooth. This could potentially be beneficial for people who have lost jaw bone mass due to cancer or other diseases.
While dental bridges may be suitable for some situations, dental implants have resounding benefits while bridges have many negative drawbacks. If you have a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth, talk to your dentist about whether a dental implant is right for you.
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