What are dental bridges?
The aptly named dental bridge is a fixed dental appliances that "bridges" the gap left by missing teeth. They are used to replace one or more missing teeth. Since they are permanently attached to the teeth on either side of the gap, unlike dentures, they can only be safely removed by a dentist. They are also sometimes referred to as "permanent partial dentures."
How to care for your dental bridges
Once the dentist has installed your dental bridges, you can care for it in much the same way that you would maintain your natural teeth. Your bridge should last for many years if you maintain it properly with regular brushing and flossing. You should also continue to see your dentist regularly.
What are dental implants?
To complete a dental implant procedure, your dentist will surgically place a small titanium rod into the jawbone to act as an artificial tooth root. Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth. Titanium is a kind of metal that is able to form bonds with natural bone, making it a stable, secure foundation for an artificial tooth. Finally, a dental crown (cap) is then placed on top of the implant to serve as the artificial tooth replacement.
Used in conjunction, the dental crown and implant look and feel much like a natural tooth.
How to care for your dental implants
Like with bridges, you should take care of your dental implants just like your natural teeth. This includes a strong brushing and flossing routine, and regular visits to the dentist.
How do I know which option is right for me?
Dental implants and dental bridges both have their advantages, and the best option for any given person will depend on that person's oral health needs as well as his or her financial situation.
The placement of dental implants is significantly more invasive than the placement of dental bridges. However, dental implants can often appear and feel more natural than dental bridges.
In addition, for the dental implant procedure to be successful, you must have a sufficient volume of jaw bone. If you don't have enough bone in your jaw, you may still be able to get an implant, but you would need to undergo a bone grafting procedure first to ensure that the implant could be supported. As a result, the implant process would take longer and be somewhat more invasive.
At the end of the day, the only way to determine which tooth replacement option is best for you is to consult with your dentist.