When a tooth is lost, the perfect meshing of our teeth is unbalanced. You should bear in mind that each tooth has its function and that when one of them is lost, in addition to the effects on the aesthetics of the smile, the bite is altered, adopting incorrect and even harmful positions.
In fact, the more teeth that are missing and the longer it takes to replace them, the more serious the alterations will be. On the one hand, for example, chewing processes become more difficult, leading to digestive problems. On the other hand, speech is also affected by the lack of these teeth. And for this reason, in dentistry, there are several options to treat tooth loss.
Many of our patients ask us what their options are, and what are the differences between a dental implant and a dental bridge, since the price of dental implants is usually higher. So, what is the most advisable treatment to solve tooth loss?
Fixed dental bridge: what and how does it work?
The dental bridge is a tooth-supported fixed prosthesis that has been used for many years as an option to replace missing teeth. To perform this treatment, the pieces adjacent to the space of the missing teeth are milled down to 1-2 mm in order to hold the dental bridge, which usually consists of 3 or more dental pieces joined together.
Dental implant: what is it, and how does it work?
Dental implants are artificial titanium roots that are placed in a fixed manner inside the jawbone, to subsequently place new permanent teeth on them to recover, in addition to functionality and chewing comfort, self-confidence.
In addition, today, the lack of maxillary bone is not an obstacle to performing this treatment. The use of bone grafts is a valid option to reconstruct the missing bone in order to anchor the dental implants to the bone. However, more modern techniques include zygomatic or pterygoid implants that are anchored to the base of the cheekbone and allow fixed teeth to be placed within a day.
Which treatment is more advisable: bridge or implant?
In general, we can say that the appearance of dental implants has displaced the use of the dental bridge due to the inherent advantages of implant dentistry. Dental implants have displaced the use of dental bridges thanks to the inherent advantages of implantology. Nevertheless, the dental bridge is still a very widespread treatment. For this reason, when deciding which treatment is the most appropriate, we consider several factors related to the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure.
- The aggressiveness of treatment.
The permanent bridge is a traumatic and aggressive treatment since we must weaken the adjacent pieces that hold the bridge, which leads to possible infections (caries or periodontitis), as well as an increase in sensitivity to cold. In addition, there is the possibility of losing this piece in the medium to long term, and the loss of the dental bridge would also mean the loss of one or more pieces that hold it in place. However, in the treatment of tooth loss with implants, we no longer have to grind the adjacent teeth, making it a less traumatic or aggressive procedure.
- Duration of treatment.
Due to the procedure used for the placement of the dental bridge, the duration and stability of this treatment depend directly on the neighbouring teeth. Oral conditions must remain excellent and hygiene, as we will see, is essential to avoid any problems.
On the other hand, the dental implant not only replaces the visible part of the tooth, which we know as the crown, but the root of the tooth, so that stability and durability can be guaranteed over a longer period of time. However, hygiene remains a fundamental factor in the success of dental implants.
- Possibility of correct hygiene.
As it is a prosthesis formed by joined pieces, the hygiene of the dental bridge is more complicated for the patient. In these cases, regular visits to a specialist are highly recommended to check the condition of the teeth and perform professional dental cleanings to prevent the appearance of cavities and periodontal diseases, which can cause the loss of other teeth.
Unlike the dental bridge, the hygiene of the implant is better since there are no longer any connectors between the healthy teeth, as the dental implant is an independent piece of the adjacent teeth. In addition, in the unlikely event that the implant is lost, this does not mean that the adjacent pieces are lost, so retreatment is simpler than with a dental bridge.
- Aesthetics of the result.
Aesthetically, the dental bridge has its limitations, since the element of union between the teeth distorts the natural appearance of the prosthesis and, as we have mentioned, dental implants are independent pieces so that, visually, it looks like natural teeth, providing a more harmonious appearance to the smile by matching the colour and shape.
As you can see, the dental bridge has been a widespread treatment for many years. However, its use has now been displaced by the advantages and great success of dental implants.