There are plenty of downsides to having a smile that's a little bit less than perfect. In addition to making you less confident in your smile, missing teeth can lead to numerous potential health issues. As a result, dealing with your missing teeth is as much about cosmetics as your long-term wellness and health. Unfortunately, many people may put off this essential procedure for far too long.
If you have one or more missing teeth, there's no time like the present to visit your friendly cosmetic dentist and begin exploring your options. The two most common permanent fixes are bridges and implants, but what's the difference, and which one is best for your situation and budget? This article will help demystify these questions to help you start smiling again.
Bridging: The Faster Option
As the name implies, bridging involves using the teeth to the left and right of your missing tooth as anchors to span the gap. A bridge can span one or more missing teeth, and the bridge itself can appear as multiple teeth. The anchors on the left and right are crowns that fit over your natural teeth, both of which need to be in relatively good condition.
The primary advantages of bridging are that it's a faster and cheaper option than an implant. Although a bridge is technically a long-term repair, several issues can lead to this cosmetic fixture failing. For example, decay or other issues with the anchor teeth may cause the bridge to weaken or loosen, forcing you to repeat the procedure.
Another potential downside to using a bridge is that your dentist must prepare your surrounding teeth to act as anchors. This preparation includes reshaping, which essentially means altering otherwise healthy teeth. While the crowns on the bridge will cover the changes, some people are uncomfortable with this aspect of bridges.
Implants: Stronger and Longer Term
Implants effectively replace your missing tooth with an artificial tooth that attaches directly to your bone. This method provides a permanent solution that doesn't require modifying any healthy teeth. Implants should generally last longer than bridges, and they're easier to maintain since cleaning them doesn't require any special techniques.
On the other hand, implants are more expensive and take longer to get into place. Receiving an implant will typically require several visits spaced out over multiple months. While some procedures exist to speed up this process, using a bridge is typically a much faster procedure that will require fewer visits to the dentist.
Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your needs, budget, and comfort level. If you can afford the upfront cost and are comfortable with more visits to the dentist, an implant may be a better longer-term solution. However, bridges are still an excellent choice if an implant is too costly, and it's worth discussing both options with your dentist before making your final decision.
Contact a dentist's office like Austin Elite Smiles for more info.