Making the Case: Bridges vs Implants

Patients seeking a restorative treatment to replace missing teeth have a number of effective options to fill the gaps in their smile. Two of the most common restorations include dental implants and dental bridges. If you are comparing bridges vs implants, Dr. John F. Rink in Charleston, SC, can help explain the advantages and disadvantages of both types of restoration, and develop a customized plan that best suits your needs. 

An illustration of dental bridges vs implants
A traditional bridge is affixed to adjacent healthy teeth, whereas an implant-supported bridge is affixed to a dental implant.

Time and Procedure

If you are looking for a quick and minimally invasive method to improve the functionality and aesthetics of your smile, a dental bridge may be right for you. However, if the surrounding teeth begin to decay, or your teeth start to shift, the bridge may fail and require additional treatment to correct. If you are seeking a more permanent solution for missing teeth, dental implant treatment may be the best option. Implants can help promote a stronger jawbone, prevent teeth from shifting into the gaps, and help minimize the possibility of periodontal disease.

Depending on the specific needs, concerns, and ultimate goals of each individual patient, Dr. Rink will help guide you through the process and help you decide which treatment is right for you.

If you are missing multiple teeth in succession, an implant-supported bridge offers superior strength and longevity. As opposed to securing the restoration to the surrounding teeth, the restoration is instead anchored to a series of titanium posts that have fused directly with the jawbone. However, it is important to understand that this fusion process, called osseointegration, may take up to five months. 

A Healthy Solution

Having gaps in your smile as a result of missing teeth can affect a patient’s overall confidence, as well as their overall health. While a bridge will provide an effective aesthetic solution, dental implants can provide an effective improvement to your oral health. With a traditional bridge, the restoration is anchored on each side of the gap by dental crowns. The crowns are typically applied over the tops of the surrounding healthy teeth by reshaping a portion of the enamel. Although this does help fill the gap and offers a minimally invasive technique that will drastically improve your smile, it will not prevent teeth from shifting or prevent bone atrophy.

Candidacy

Patients missing one to three consecutive teeth are often candidates for a traditional bridge. The main requirement for a traditional prosthetic is to have healthy surrounding teeth to anchor the bridge. If the adjacent teeth are damaged or decayed, you may be a better candidate for implants or a denture. To be a good candidate for dental implants, you must have a healthy and strong jawbone to support the titanium posts. If the bone structure is not adequate enough, a grafting procedure may be necessary to prepare for treatment.

Choosing the Right Solution

Treatment with dental implants and dental bridges both offer great options to help restore the appearance and functionality of your smile. Depending on the specific needs, concerns, and ultimate goals of each individual patient, Dr. Rink will help guide you through the process and help you decide which treatment is right for you. To explore your options and to regain a healthy, functional bite and smile, please schedule your consultation today.

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Charleston Office

33 Gamecock Ave
Bldg C
Charleston, SC 29407

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