Is a missing tooth throwing off your smile and bite? Then there is no reason not to act immediately to fill in the vacant space. Modern dental techniques have made adult tooth replacement easier than ever. At La Jolla Family Smile Design, we typically recommend two options for this problem: dental implants and dental bridges. In this blog, you can learn about the differences between these procedures to help you determine which option feels best for you.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a prosthetic tooth that is attached to your jawbone. Your dentist surgically inserts a titanium post that, over time, fuses with the jawbone. Once it is secure a few months later, your dentist can put the artificial tooth over the post. You and your dentist will choose a tooth that matches the rest of your teeth perfectly in terms of size, shape, and color. A dental implant functions just like a normal tooth.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
As its name suggests, a dental bridge “bridges” the space between your teeth with a prosthetic. Dental crowns are attached to the natural teeth on either side of this gap to hold the artificial tooth in place. The bridge can hold more than one artificial tooth if your mouth is missing multiple teeth in a row. Our dentists can use one of a few different types of dental bridges (including traditional and cantilever) to best address your dental needs.
Which Is Right for Your Missing Tooth?
Usually, the decision between a dental implant and dental bridge comes down to a matter of personal preference for the patient. Although both treatments are durable, dental bridges tend to last about 10 (or more) years before needing replacement, whereas dental implants can last for decades. Dental implants look more realistic than dental bridges because they do not require treatment of the adjacent teeth.
On the other hand, bridges tend to be more affordable and are more likely to be covered by insurance. If cost is a factor, that may make a bridge the better way to go. Bridges can also be completed in a shorter timeframe.
Make an Appointment for Restorative Dentistry
The longer you leave a hole in your smile, the more likely it is that your other teeth will shift out of place. Don’t procrastinate on fixing your smile with a restorative procedure like dental implants or dental bridges. To make an appointment with our elite team of dentists — Dr. Jaime Breziner, Dr. David Vasquez, and Dr. Yael Kandinov — please call (858) 454-3044 today.