Dental Implants or Bridges?
When considering dental implant options amidst other options like bridges and dentures, it is important to consider the point that dental implants last much longer than the other options.
A dental bridge, the creation of a tooth supported by anchors to real teeth on each side, requires grinding down adjacent teeth to make the bridge. Bridges cause increased tooth destruction and only last ten to fifteen years before requiring a replacement bridge. In contrast, implants can last a lifetime.
Dental implants have been perfected for over forty-five years, and consist of titanium, a similar material to what is used in orthopedic knee and hip replacements. With advances in implant techniques over the last ten years, implants have emerged as the ideal treatment option.
If a tooth is lost, the sooner an implant is installed, the better. Over time, bone loss at a missing tooth site can occur and losing too much bone can require a graft. Dental implant surgery takes about one hour. After an implant is placed, it heals for a few months, allowing time for the bone to fuse to the implant. Once fused, Dr. Field takes an impression of the mouth and uses it to fabricate the crown for the implant.
Patients sometimes have the wrong idea of what to expect after dental implant surgery, says Dr. Field. If you’ve lost a tooth due to extraction, it’s going to hurt much less than that. “I’ve had patients say it’s easier and less painful than having a crown done,” he says. Dental implant surgery has a success rate of anywhere from 96 to 98 percent.
Rare side effects and complications can include improper fusion of the implant to the jaw bone. If that occurs, the implant is removed, the bone heals, and the patient can try again.
Implant patients experience less alterations to life after an implant surgery, compared to a bridge or a denture. Implants can be brushed and flossed like a real tooth, unlike a bridge, where food particles can get wedged underneath the appliance and may require removal by a dentist. Dentures usually require regular removal and cleansing by the patient.