Both of these methods are popular choices for replacing lost teeth, but which option is best for you?
We would all like to keep our teeth for as long as we possibly can. Sometimes though, we are faced with a gap in our teeth, whether through needing an extraction, or even when a tooth gets knocked out accidentally.
The most well known tooth replacement method is, of course, dentures. There are benefits to these but some patients may experience issues with comfort and stability and consequently seek out alternatives.
At Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic, we provide two alternatives to dentures in the form of a bridge and also, as you might guess from our business name, dental implants. There are pros and cons to both of these which we will discuss below for the benefit of our Canterbury patients.
After dentures, a bridge used to be the most common way to replace any missing teeth. It is, in essence, a series of false teeth that are held in place, often using dental crowns. It is a tried and tested method and works well for many people. As with most treatments though, there are benefits and downsides.
- Bridges typically offer a more secure option than dentures for replacing missing teeth.
- Patients will be able to chew a wider range of foods more easily.
- Whilst often being more expensive than dentures, they are a cheaper option than dental implants.
- A bridge can only be used for individual spaces or where consecutive teeth are missing.
- They can’t be used for the very rear teeth, as there are no teeth behind them for the crowns to be attached to.
- They can be a little fiddly to keep clean as it is necessary to clean under the bridge as well as around the replacement teeth.
- To fit the crown means preparing, by reshaping, what are likely to be healthy teeth on either side of the gap.
Some of these pros and cons will be more important than others to different people and we are always pleased to offer unbiased advice to our patients so that they can make an informed decision as to whether this is the best option for them.
Modern dental implants are rapidly becoming the ‘go to’ choice for replacing missing teeth. Years of experience of placing these safely and effectively means that our team are able to offer a first class dental implant service at our Canterbury practice.
A dental implant is, briefly, made up of three parts; the implant, a titanium screw like object that is placed into the jawbone to replace the tooth root, an abutment which supports the crown, and finally, the crown itself. This is the visible part of the implant that both looks and feels like a natural tooth.
- Once placed and securely bonded with the bone in the jaw, dental implants offer a strength and security equivalent to, or greater than, natural teeth.
- With good care, they can last for twenty years (and very often many more).
- Patients with dental implants find that they can eat whatever they want without fear they will become loose.
- Unlike with dentures, once the patient has become used to the new implant, there is minimal risk of it affecting speech.
- They both look and feel like a natural tooth.
- They are easy to keep clean and can be cared for, more or less as you would a natural tooth.
- Dental implant placement does require invasive surgery. This may deter some patients but the reality is rather different from what some might believe. We offer a sedation service for nervous patients if required.
- They are more costly than a bridge or dentures but we do offer payment plans that help patients to spread the cost of the treatment. Dental implants are also low maintenance and with good care, there is relatively little additional cost after they have been placed.
- They require a period of around three months where you will need to take additional care by not drinking or smoking and also eating softer foods. This is a temporary measure to ensure that the osseointegration (fusing of the implant and bone) succeeds.
- Where insufficient bone is present in the jaw, you may require a prior procedure such as a bone graft or sinus lift in order for us to be able to place your implant securely.
Ultimately, the choice of tooth replacement options is down to personal preference and suitability. We will never try to persuade you to have a treatment that you don’t want (unless medically necessary). We do, however, believe that dental implants are the way to go if you want to have truly strong, natural looking and long lasting replacement teeth.
We are always happy to answer any questions or address and concerns that you may have about this, or any other treatment. Consultations at Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic can be arranged by calling our Canterbury practice on 01227 463529. Our team looks forward to meeting you and helping you to overcome problems with missing teeth.