Patients with missing teeth have many options available to restore and preserve the health of their smile. The long-established method of tooth replacement has been dental bridges, but dental implants are a newer method that has increased in popularity in recent years. What’s the difference, and which is better? Most dentists, including Dr. Datta Malyavantham of Ridgetop Dental in Sterling, VA, prefer dental implants due to their longevity, ease of care, and strength. Even so, it’s important to consider several factors before choosing a tooth replacement solution.
Bridges and Implants
In the past, the only way to replace missing teeth was with a dental bridge, which involves more than just the missing tooth. The teeth that are adjacent to the gap are prepared by removing most of the enamel to attach the bridge to these teeth. In contrast, dental implants are inserted directly into the gap and do not affect the surrounding teeth. Bridges still may be a good option if the surrounding teeth need large fillings or if the underlying bone is not in good condition. You should discuss the advantages and disadvantages with your dentist.
Caring For Implants and Bridges
Caring for implants is easier than caring for bridges. Dental implants look and feel like normal teeth, and since they are not attached to neighboring teeth, you can still clean between them and brush them as normal. Bridges are harder to clean since they are cemented in the mouth and do not allow you to floss between them. With bridges, you must floss underneath the false tooth, where dental implants can be cleaned just like normal teeth.
Dental implants are made of metal, which fuses with your existing jawbone, making it mostly resistant to tooth decay. When dental implants are properly cared for, the implant itself lasts a lifetime, and the false tooth on top of the implant usually lasts 15-20 years, depending on wear and tear and how well it has been cared for.
On the other hand, the average lifespan of a dental bridge is just 10 years, after which the entire bridge will need to be replaced. There’s a higher risk for tooth decay and discomfort because a portion of the natural teeth are beneath it, and they are more difficult to clean.
Dental Implant and Dental Bridge Cost Comparison
While dental bridges are the lower-cost option initially, they need to be replaced more frequently and can actually cost more long-term. Dental implants, while more expensive up front, are often covered at least in part by insurance and last much longer. Investing in a long-lasting process makes better financial sense, and many dentists offer payment plans or other flexible arrangements.
Dental Implants in Sterling, VA
There are pros and cons to both dental implants and dental bridges, but both options are preferable to being self-conscious about your missing teeth. Both procedures are an investment of your time, money, and trust, so it’s important to see the best dentist in the area to help create a treatment plan that fits your needs. Dr. Datta at Ridgetop Dental has many years of experience and training in implant surgery and would be happy to meet with you for an individual consultation. Request yours online or call our office at (703) 520-7410 today!