Replacing Teeth with Bridges Requires Cutting Down Adjacent Teeth
When teeth adjacent to the missing tooth are cut down into pegs for bridges, the enamel is removed, leaving the spongy layer of tooth structure called the dentin.
Over time, the cement retaining the bridge washes out and bacteria can seep under the bridge and decay the dentin fairly quickly. This leads to failure of the bridge and possible root canals if the decay reaches the nerve.
Most importantly, once the teeth are cut down for a bridge, the tooth structure can never be replaced; the long-term health of the teeth is compromised and this usually results in additional treatment over time, which can be extensive and costly. Sometimes it is even necessary to cut down additional teeth to provide additional support when the teeth originally cut down to support the bridge fail.
Replacing Teeth with Dental Implants Preserves the Health of Adjacent Teeth
When missing teeth are replaced with dental implants, there is no need to cut down the adjacent teeth, compromising the long-term health of the teeth. The dental implant serves as a replacement tooth root, supporting a new crown. This replicates the anatomy of the missing tooth as closely as possible. Additionally, there is an abundance of documented evidence in the scientific literature demonstrating that replacing teeth with dental implants actually protects the adjacent natural teeth.
Advantages of Dental Implant vs. Bridge
Advantages of Dental Implants
- Dental implant treatment is the only solution that preserves bone.
- Superior long-term esthetics by preventing a visible defect in the bone as a result of tooth loss.
- No compromise to the health of adjacent teeth.
- Dental implant restorations have a much better long-term prognosis
- The American Dental Association quotes a 10 year life span for bridges
- Documented clinical studies indicate success rates for implants of 95-98% for 20-50 years
Disadvantages of Bridges
- Long-term health of adjacent teeth is compromised by removing the enamel and placing additional forces on these teeth.
- Difficult to clean and the teeth are susceptible to decay, root canals and gum problems
- Bridges typically need to be replaced every ten years (average). Each time the bridge is replaced more tooth structure is removed.
- When bridges fail, additional teeth are often affected and more extensive treatment is usually necessary
Disadvantages of Dental Implants
- More planning time and treatment time required
- Treatment requires surgical procedure
Advantages of Bridges
- Less planning and treatment time involved
- No surgical procedure is required