What are dental bridges?
The aptly named dental bridge is a fixed dental appliance that literally "bridges" the gap left by teeth that are missing. Used to replace one or more missing teeth, they are permanently attached to the teeth located on either side of the gap. Unlike dentures they can only be safely removed by a dentist. They are also sometimes referred to as "permanent partial dentures."
How to care for your dental bridges
Once the dentist has placed your dental bridge, you can treat it in the same way that you'd treat your natural teeth. As long as it's maintained properly with regular brushing and flossing, the bridge should last for many years. You should also continue to attend your regular appointments with your dentist.
What are dental implants?
This small titanium rod is surgically implanted into the jaw bone to act as an artificial tooth root. Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth. Titanium is a type of metal that can form bonds with natural bone. A dental implant serves as a secure and stable foundation for an artificial tooth. A dental crown (cap) will then be placed on top of the implant to act as the artificial tooth replacement.
Used together, the dental crown and implant have a very similar appearance and feel to your natural teeth.
How to care for your dental implants
Like with bridges, you should take care of your dental implants just like your natural teeth. This includes a strong brushing and flossing routine, and regular visits to the dentist.
How do I know which option is right for me?
Dental implants and dental bridges both have their advantages, and the best option for any given person will depend on that person's oral health needs as well as his or her financial situation.
The placement of dental implants is significantly more invasive than the placement of dental bridges. However, dental implants can often appear and feel more natural than dental bridges.
In addition, for the dental implant procedure to be successful, you must have a sufficient volume of jaw bone. If you don't have enough bone in your jaw, you may still be able to get an implant, but you would need to undergo a bone grafting procedure first to ensure that the implant could be supported. As a result, the implant process would take longer and be somewhat more invasive.
At the end of the day, the only way to determine which tooth replacement option is best for you is to consult with your dentist.