Trying to decide on the best way to replace a missing tooth can be an overwhelming experience. There’s so much information out there about your options, but it can be nice to simply see a comparison of them all in one place. If that sounds like it would be helpful, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, you’ll learn about the key differences between dentures, bridges and dental implants in San Diego so you can make a more informed decision about which one is right for you!
Full and Partial Dentures
Dentures are appliances that sit on top of the gum tissue to replace the crowns of missing teeth (the white part that you see above the gumline). They’re an inexpensive option upfront, but they only last an average of 5-10 years, so the replacement costs make them more expensive in the long-term.
In addition, the body begins to “reabsorb” the bone mass in the jaws when there aren’t roots present, causing the jaw to shrink and become thinner over time. This causes dentures to become loose and ill-fitting, so they can slip during meals and conversations.
Also, patients with traditional dentures aren’t able to chew tough or hard foods such as steak, hard fruits and vegetables, popcorn or anything sticky.
Having said that, modern dentures in San Diego fit better than ever and can also be retained with dental implants, which significantly reduces many of these disadvantages.
When only one tooth is missing, a bridge is one way of replacing the missing crown portion of that tooth. However, bridges use the two teeth on either side of the missing space as anchors or support. These two healthy teeth must be ground down to accommodate dental crowns that will anchor the middle replacement crown.
Bridges last an average of 10-15 years because they’re difficult to clean, which can cause cavities to develop on the anchor teeth. In addition, they don’t replace the root of the missing tooth, so (similar to dentures) the bone mass in the jaw will be lost over time.
A dental implant refers to a titanium post that’s placed in the jaw to replace the root of a missing tooth. This key difference is what gives implants their strength, stability and longevity. It also tricks the body into thinking a tooth is still present, so the jawbone is maintained.
After the implant is placed, it’s given 3-6 months to fuse with the surrounding jawbone, after which a crown is attached to complete the restoration. Implants can also be restored with bridges or dentures, which offers a hybrid solution that’s a great choice for some patients.
The best way to know which one of these options is right for you is to schedule a consultation with a dentist in San Diego who can look at your individual case. But, rest assured that regardless of what you decide on, you can look forward to a restored smile that will last many years.
About the Author
Dr. Greg Friedman is a general and restorative dentist in San Diego who knows that treatment options can be overwhelming for his patients. He always takes the time to explain the pros and cons of each choice to help his patients choose what’s right for them. If you have any additional questions about the difference between dentures, bridges and implants, he can be reached via his website or at (858) 682-2394.