If you have missing teeth, or just one missing tooth, you may have considered having your teeth replaced with something artificial. There are a few different options for you, but the most common are dental implants and bridges (especially if you aren't replacing all of your teeth, as with dentures). There are a number of benefits with either of these replacement options. See below for the benefits and the differences in both of these tooth replacement procedures.
- Dental implants: Dental implants can last 20 or more years depending on how well you care for them. Although they are low maintenance, you still need to get to the dentist for routine cleanings and should brush as you would your natural teeth - twice daily for at least two minutes.
- Bridges: Bridges last up to about 10 years. They will need to be replaced over time.
- Dental implants: Dental implants can take a lot longer for the procedure, sometimes a few months may be needed. The implants are set into the jaw bone with a piece of titanium metal. There is a lot more involved in this type of procedure and may require a number of different appointments.
- Bridges: Bridges are made with a replacement tooth and a piece of metal that surrounds the other teeth around the missing tooth. Bridges don't take nearly as long to have set and made. These can be done in just a few short weeks.
- Dental implants: Dental implants don't require much maintenance. They are cleaned just like your natural teeth. There is no need to take them out as with bridges.
- Bridges: Bridges should be removed and cleaned properly to remove plaque buildup. They need to be cleaned with a special type of cleaner, as with dentures, and should be kept in a cup when not being used to prevent damage or to prevent the bridge from being lost.
- Dental implants: Dental implants do not move, as they are set in the jaw bone. There is no movement when you laugh, drink, or eat. There is no need for a special diet with dental implants, or the need to avoid certain foods.
- Bridges: Bridges can move easily and can fall out when you eat different types of foods or laugh.
Your teeth help make up your smile, facial structure, and make you, you. Take good care of your teeth, see your dentist at least every six months for a checkup and cleaning, and talk to your dentist about tooth replacement options if you have a missing tooth or two (or more).