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Bridges vs. Implants: What You Should Know

If you have a missing tooth (or teeth), you might feel self-conscious about your smile. But the disadvantages of missing teeth don’t stop there. Missing teeth can even make it difficult to chew comfortably or speak clearly. 

You’re not destined to put up with the annoyances of missing teeth, though. Dr. Mimi Theerathada and the team here at Westlake Smile Studio in Westlake Village, California, provide several options for replacing missing teeth, including bridges and dental implants

If you’re just starting to explore your restoration options, you might wonder whether a bridge or an implant is better for you. In this guide, we explore the pros and cons of both.

Dental bridges

As the name suggests, a dental bridge “bridges” the gap between two teeth. There are different types of bridges, but they function in a similar way:

Like any dental procedure, dental bridges have their own pros and cons.

Pros

Unlike dentures, dental bridges are cemented into place. This means you don’t have the hassle of soaking. The process of getting a bridge is also much quicker and generally less expensive than an implant. Most bridges can be completed in two appointments. 

In addition, there’s no need for surgery. This is ideal for people who don’t want surgery or who can’t have surgery.

Cons

Although you don’t need to soak a dental bridge, you still need to adjust your oral care routine. You might need to use a floss threader to clean adequately under your bridge.

Bridges also require two healthy and strong teeth to serve as anchors. If you’re missing too many teeth, you might not have enough to support a bridge.

Dental implants

A dental implant is a surgically implanted prosthetic tooth, and the procedure continues to grow in popularity. Nearly half a million Americans receive a new implant each year.

Implants are designed to create strong and sturdy teeth thanks to a post that fuses with your jawbone, an abutment, and a crown. Bridges and implants both use crowns, but they use them differently.

Pros

Among their many benefits, dental implants:

At Westlake Smile Studio, we’re proud to offer metal-free Nobel Biocare® dental implants.

Cons

The timeline for receiving implants can be longer compared to bridges. Your timeline can be longer if you need additional procedures (like a sinus lift or bone graft) before you get the implant.

Even if you don’t need a sinus lift or bone graft, it can take several months for your bone to fully heal and fuse with your implant post. Due to the nature of the surgery, implants aren’t suitable for children or teens whose jawbone hasn’t finished growing.

It’s also important to know that implants require surgery, and your jawbone and gums must be healthy before you’re cleared for surgery. 

Which one is right for you?

Replacing your missing tooth can do wonders for your self-esteem and oral health, and thankfully, you don’t have to make this decision alone. Dr. Theerathada can answer all of your restoration questions and get you on the path to a happier, healthier smile.

To find out if bridges or implants are right for you, give our Westlake Village practice a call at 805-225-4239 or use our online tool to schedule an appointment.

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