Dental implants and dental bridges are dental restoration options that fill the spaces left behind by missing teeth.
Why Replace Missing Teeth?
It's important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible, because leaving gaps in the teeth could result in serious dental problems.
For example, the surrounding teeth could shift out of position, causing difficulty chewing and speaking, discomfort, TMJ symptoms, or tooth decay or gum disease. Missing teeth could also cause supporting bone to deteriorate over time, which can change the appearance of your whole face.
Should I choose a dental bridge or an implant?
Dental bridges literally "bridge" the gaps left by missing teeth. They are attached to the teeth on either side of the gap.
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made out of titanium and capped with a dental crown to permanently replace a tooth.
Dental implants look, act, and feel like natural teeth. They are secure and permanent.
Nonetheless, a dental bridge may be a better option for you if the neighbouring teeth have large fillings, and may need crowns or caps down the road.
If the tooth or teeth have been missing for a long time, the gum and bone tissues around the gap will have deteriorated to some extent. This will mean that additional invasive procedures, like gum and bone grafts may be required in preparation for the implant. For some people, getting an implant (as opposed to a bridge) is not worth the extra time, discomfort and expense.