A Users Guide to Bridges, Implants, and Dentures

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Should You Choose Bridges, Implants, or Dentures?

Missing a permanent tooth? Not to worry!  There are many common causes for permanent tooth loss.  Often it’s associated with poor oral health but sometimes it’s as simple as a wild puck on the ice!  Ouch!  Whatever the cause, dental technology has created a variety of options to fill any gap in your smile!

There are many restorative options that offer comfortable function and a natural appearance for you to choose from, including bridges, implants,and dentures. But how do you know which is best for you?  That will depend. Your smile is as unique as you are, so the best way to know is to consult with your dentist.  We’ll give you an overview right here so you have a solid jumping off point for that conversation!  Read on for the basics, then contact our team to make a custom plan that will suit your specific needs.

Bridges for Small Gaps

Designed to replace one or two teeth, dental bridges involve two crowns and one or more pontics, or false teeth. The crowns attach to healthy teeth on either side of a gap,and they create an anchor for the pontics that go between them. The pontics sit on your gums and act more or less the same way as natural teeth.

Bridges offer certain advantages, such as quick installation and virtually zero recovery time. The entire process can be completed in only two appointments! Best of all, bridges are  generally low cost compared to other restorative options.  They last about a decade and work about as well as your natural teeth.

There are some things to consider carefully as you think about filling a gap by installing a bridge.  They don’t last as long as implants or dentures. The teeth on either side of the gap must be permanently reshaped to execute the procedure.  Bridges do not support your jaw or prevent jawbone loss.  However, because bridges only replace one or two teeth at a time, your jaw might not require additional support to prevent deterioration. Discuss these points with Dr. Wilde to see what he recommends in your particular case.

Implants for Small or Large Gaps and Strong Jaws

Dental implants anchor directly into your jaw bone via a titanium screw. This screw acts like a tooth root and supports your jawbone while a mounted crown offers you the full function and aesthetic appeal of a natural tooth. To install an implant, requires three appointments:  One to install the screw.  A second to install a post.  And a final appointment to mount the crown.  These appointments will be spaced out over time to give your tissues time to heal between each step.

Many people strongly prefer implants for restorative work, for good reason!  They tend to look the most natural compared to other restorative options.  They prevent jawbone loss and maintain the full, youthful appearance of your face.  Implants last longer than other options, often lasting a lifetime, and feel and function like natural teeth!  Beautifully maintained with only the standard brushing and flossing, no special care required.  They can be used in a variety of situations.  You might replace just one missing tooth or as many as a full set.

Installation can take several months depending on the pace at which your body heals. They also often cost more than bridges or dentures.  However, the time and investment pay off in terms of convenience and longevity!  Implants require the strength and structure of your jawbone to be carefully factored into the decision in order for the procedure to be successful.  In some cases it may not be recommended.   Our team will be happy to help you assess whether implants are the best option for you!

Dentures for Large Gaps

Perhaps you have large sections of missing teeth, or need the full set replaced. If implants don’t suit your circumstances dentures are a great choice!  When we say dentures, we mean a variety of removable prosthetic teeth.  They may replace missing teeth on the top and/or bottom entirely, or lend support to an area missing only a few teeth.  To build this prosthesis, we will take an impression of your mouth and send the impression to a lab.  We will then make an appointment with you to try in and adjust your finished full or partial dentures

Dentures are beneficial because they allow you to speak, eat and smile comfortably!  In most cases, there is no recovery period associated with dentures.  They can be adjusted precisely to your liking when you pick them up.  You’ll only have to get used to wearing and caring for them. They can support your jaw when anchored with two or more implants.

The major complaint against dentures is that they can slip when eating or speaking.  This problem can be solved with mini-implants, which enable dentures to snap snugly on to a small screw that will anchor them securely to your jaw while in use but allow you to remove your prosthetic teeth as you please.  Because classical dentures are removable they sometimes get broken.  Dentures may feel uncomfortable and require adjustment as the jaw changes.  Dentures work for people who have weak or structurally insufficient jawbones though they will not support the jaw as much as implants do.

Contact Us!

Now you know the basics regarding your options.  Think about what details are most important to you as you decide how to fill the gaps in your smile.  Is it immediate cost?  Value over time?  Ease and speed of treatment?  Remember that your smile is one of a kind and will require specific consideration to find the best solution for your comfort and oral health.  Call us today and we’ll make a plan together!