What is a Dental Bridge?
Bridges are typically used to replace one or two missing teeth. A conventional bridge is made by placing crowns on two teeth - one tooth on each side of the missing space- and placing a false tooth or teeth in between the two crowned teeth. In this way your teeth support the bridge. A bridge can be supported by your natural teeth or dental implant, or a combination of both.
Fixed Bridge vs. Implant
Can’t decide if you would like to have a dental implant or a fixed bridge? That is a common question that many people struggle to find an answer to. It is a complex decision for a variety of reasons. There is no single answer that fits everyone. Each person is unique and requires a custom solution. Advanced Dental Solutions is able to help you with your decision and answer any questions related to your specific circumstances . Here are some general things to consider.
Treatment time: If you are looking to replace a tooth in a hurry, in some cases, a fixed bridge may be completed in a shorter time span than an implant.
Cost: Upfront cost of a fixed bridge is usually less than an implant. Nearly all insurance companies reimburse the patient for at least some part of the procedure. However, reimbursement on dental implants is variable and often there is no reimbursement from most insurance companies. In the long run cost may not be so favorable for the fixed bridge option because a bridge may not last as long as an implant. There are other factors to consider to determine the true value.
Risk of dental decay: Your risk to get dental decay is another big factor. This is a risk factor that needs to be identified by your provider. One of the main reasons that fixed bridges fail is due to dental decay. 18% of fixed bridges fail due to decay. If you are at risk to get continued decay this percentage could actually be higher for you. Even if your teeth next to the missing tooth need crowns it may not be best to go for a fixed bridge. Around 0.4% of crowns fail due to decay. The replace of a single crown that has failed due to decay is greatly less than replacing a failed fixed bridge. Furthermore, cleaning between a dental implant and tooth is much easier than cleaning under a fixed bridge. You will have a better chance to be successful in preventing future decay with you home care if you can clean between them more easily.
Longevity: Longevity can be a major difference between dental implants and fixed bridges. Just because your friend has had his or her fixed bridge for fifty years does not mean that you will too. As a unique individual your mouth may contain factors that can make one option better for you. Dental implants have been shown to have a survival rate of around 95%. Only 67% of fixed bridges are still in place after 15 years. If a fixed bridge fails, it often requires the removal of one of its supporting teeth. The replacement at that point often requires a significant reconstruction that more than offsets the initial cost savings of choosing a fixed bridge.
Amount of bone in jaw: The amount of bone left in your jaws can make this decision more complex. Some people do not have enough bone left in their jaws to be considered a good candidate for dental implants. This problem can often be solved by adding bone through bone grafting procedures. However, some people may consider the additional surgery to be too costly, too time consuming or more procedures than they care to tolerate. This can often tip the scales toward choosing a fixed bridge.
Overall health: One of the other important considerations is your overall health. There are some medical conditions that may make a dental implant less favorable. Uncontrolled diabetes is a great example. If you have medical conditions, make sure to inform your provider so they can prepare a plan to fit your unique set of circumstances.
As you can tell, choosing between a dental implant and fixed bridge is not a slam dunk. It requires the consideration of many important factors. We are happy to help guide you through your various options and make a recommendation based on your unique health factors and needs.
If you are interested in a learning more about your options, Advanced Dental Solutions can help you; contact us today at 517-367-1200 to schedule an appointment.