Are you are missing one or more teeth and are tired of removing your dentures every night? Then you might be considering more permanent tooth replacement options. Dental implants have become very popular in recent years, however, traditional fixed dental bridges are better tooth-replacement options for some people.

Dental Implants Versus Bridges: What’s the Difference?

Both dental implants and fixed dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth. Keep in mind that each tooth replacement option has its unique advantages and disadvantages.

A dental implant consists of a metal post, or screw, that is implanted into the jaw and a crown, or pontic, and is placed on top of the screw. The pontic is designed to mimic the appearance of a natural tooth. When placed in a healthy mouth and properly cared for, dental implants can stay in great shape for up to 40 years.

A fixed dental bridge, on the other hand, is made up of several crowns. Two crowns are adhered to the two healthy teeth adjacent to the missing tooth or teeth. One or more additional dental crowns that serve as replacements for the missing teeth are then attached to these crowns. The placement of a dental bridge does not require surgery, as placement of a dental implant does. Dental bridges can last up to 20 years or longer when cared for well.

When Are Dental Bridges a Better Option than Dental Implants?

You Suffer From Diabetes

Dental implants placed in diabetes sufferers are more prone to failure than those placed in non-diabetics. Slow wound healing and the increase in the chance of wound infection that can occur in diabetics are two causes of implant failure in diabetes sufferers.

You Suffer from Periodontal Disease

If you suffer from gum disease, then you must take steps to improve your gum health before you can obtain a dental implant. Diseased gums are filled with bacteria that can lead to a severe dental implant infection called peri-implantitis. This infection can quickly lead to implant failure.

Some people have a tough time eradicating gum disease, and for those people, a dental bridge is a better option than an implant. Since dental bridges are not implanted into gum tissue, they are less likely to be affected by gum disease.

You Smoke Cigarettes

About 20 percent of all dental implants placed in people who smoke cigarettes fail. Smoking cigarettes cuts off blood supply to gum tissue, which can delay surgical wound healing that must occur after dental implant placement. No wounds that must heal are created when placing dental bridges, so smoking is unlikely to affect the integrity of a dental bridge.

You Take Certain Medications

Several medications can increase the chance of dental implant failure when taken regularly. Implants fail more often in people taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) used to control heartburn, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used to control depression and anxiety, and an osteoporosis medication called bisphosphonate.

While you can likely still obtain a dental implant if you take one of these medications, you may want to consider obtaining a dental bridge instead if you take more than one of these drugs.

If you are missing one or more teeth and are looking for a more permanent tooth-replacement option than dentures, then use this information to determine if dental implants or dental bridges may be better options for you. However, your dentist will perform a thorough dental exam and examine oral x-rays of your mouth before providing their final tooth-replacement recommendation.

Don’t be afraid, give us a call today so we can not only help you with your oral care, but also help you with your dental care anxiety. Come in to Smiles for Health so we can assess your teeth and help you get ahead of your dental care. Also ask us about our teeth whitening services!