People who are missing one or more teeth often have trouble pronouncing certain words correctly, chewing their food thoroughly or feeling confident about their smile. Left untreated, one lost tooth can turn into more, eventually leading to gum issues, lost bone or even serious heart problems. For this reason, many people are turning to dental bridges or dental implants to fix their smiles and improve their confidence and physical health.
Bridges are called such because they “bridge the gap” when a patient has one or more missing teeth. The natural teeth on either side of the dental bridge support it. There are three types of bridges — traditional, cantilever and Maryland bonded — and the type used depends on the patient’s needs. Bridges have several advantages and disadvantages. Bridges are a faster and more affordable procedure that may be less painful than dental implants. However, they also do not look as natural, require replacement every few years and require damaging your natural teeth for fitting.
Dental implants are permanent false teeth that we surgically implant into your jaw. Each implant includes a titanium post, an abutment and the dental crown. Depending on your situation, you will receive endosteal or subperiosteal implants. Like bridges, implants have pros and cons. The biggest perk is that high-quality ones last a lifetime as long as you care for them properly. They also look more natural, are more protective of your jawbone and do not cause strain to your natural teeth. For most, the biggest disadvantage is that implants require surgery. They also take more visits to complete and are more expensive initially. However, the patients who do choose implants often feel the larger upfront cost is worth it since they do not require replacement every few years.
Our dentist, Dr. Richard D. Howes, D.D.S., is experienced at providing both dental bridges and dental implants in Livermore, CA. Contact us today to learn more about your options.