Does a missing tooth detract from your appearance? Do you long for a beautiful smile and healthy dental function? If so, you naturally want the most effective, lifelike, and durable dental restoration available. If you are exploring your restorative options, you may be wondering about an implant vs. a bridge at our La Jolla practice. Although both restorations can give you a more complete smile, implants offer numerous benefits that older bridges simply cannot provide. Nevertheless, although implants are typically the optimal choice, in some cases, bridges can be a great solution. Your = dentist will explain more about an implant vs. a bridge in San Diego, and he will help you select the right treatment for your needs.
Bridges and Implants 101
Modern dental bridges have been popular since the beginning of the twentieth century. These restorations are made of several crowns attached to one another to form a single unit. To place a bridge, your dentist will reshape the teeth on either side of the space in your smile. Then he will place the bridge directly on these teeth. Bridges can be made from a variety of materials. However, in most cases, they are made of porcelain or zirconia for a more lifelike appearance.
Since the 1980’s, implants have become an increasingly popular tooth replacement option. These small, biocompatible titanium posts go directly inside your jawbone. After your surgeon positions them, your bone and gum tissues will heal around the posts. Thanks to this process, called osseointegration, the posts will permanently take the place of your dental roots. Then Dr. Georgaklis can attach a custom-created and highly lifelike crown or bridge. Many patients worry that the implant procedure will be painful. However, Dr. Georgaklis uses extremely precise and gentle techniques. All of his patients report that they do not even need ibuprofen after their surgeries.
Candidates for Treatment
If you are missing one or more teeth, you are likely a candidate for a dental bridge. If you suffer from gum disease, or if you have dental decay, your dentist will typically treat these concerns before attaching a bridge.
As a candidate for a dental implant, you must have sufficient jawbone density. If you have lost bone volume as a consequence of tooth loss or gum disease, you may not have a strong foundation for your implant posts. However, treatments such as bone grafting or sinus lifts can augment your jawbone and create room for the implants. In other cases, Dr. Georgaklis may recommend mini implants. These posts take up less space and therefore require less bone density. He will use advanced imaging technology to examine your jawbone and determine the right procedure for your needs.
Benefits of Bridges and Implants
Bridges are affordable, and their placement involves minimal recovery time. If you are on a budget, or if you are apprehensive about undergoing oral surgery, a bridge may be the right choice for you.
Nevertheless, virtually all dental experts agree that implants are the optimal tooth replacement option. These restorations are permanent, and with proper care, they could last the rest of your life. They are completely stable, and because they will sit directly against your gum tissue, they will be virtually identical to your natural teeth. On top of that, implants are the only restorative treatment that can prevent bone loss. Like your natural roots, they will provide the necessary signals that stimulate mineralization. In this way, implants will not simply replace your teeth. They can also protect your overall facial structure and appearance.
To learn more about your tooth replacement options, and to find out which one may be right for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Georgaklis today.