Dental Implants vs. Bridges: What Is the Difference?
Patients who come into our San Luis Obispo office benefit tremendously from dental implants. After all, this option does offer much clearer advantages compared to dentures and bridges, which are more traditional practices. Dental implants were not always available, so while they were being perfected, missing teeth were replaced with removable dentures or tooth-supported bridges.
When using bridges, dentists have to ground away at the healthy tooth structure to reshape adjacent teeth. This way, they can be used as support to anchor the bridge. The problem is that bridges put a lot more strain on the supporting teeth than they can handle. This leads the bone surrounding the teeth to melt away and resorb, which debilitates their natural support system.
As the bone and the gum start to pull away from the supporting teeth, dark shadows start surrounding the bridge, which is not aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, there’s a risk that the pressure on the bridge could lead to a gap between the bridge and the tooth. This would allow bacteria to enter and also force tooth decay, which could lead to root canals. Flossing can also become difficult or downright impossible for patients whose bridges link three or more teeth.
Tooth loss has a strong psychological effect on people and it is different for everyone. People who have an active social life and are outgoing may be affected to the point they will avoid social situations, including romantic ones, to keep people from discovering that they’re missing a tooth or several. Having missing teeth for a long time also leads to bone loss, which changes or disfigures the facial structure, making people look a lot older than they really are.
Dentures are one of the most traditional responses to tooth loss and, even though they do provide a certain level of esthetic security, they can also cause more damage. Dentures place a lot of weight on the underlying bone structure, which leads to bone loss. Not to mention that dentures are not forever, they will eventually need to be relined or replaced. Dental implants don’t cause any of the issues that both bridges and dentures do, so they are the safest and best solution to tooth loss.