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Bridges vs. dental implants for replacing missing teeth in Chicago

As dentists, our first priority is saving natural teeth when we can, but sometimes that isn't possible. Maybe they are too loose, badly damaged, or already gone. Whatever the situation, if a tooth can't be saved, it needs to be replaced. In the past, the most common way of accomplishing that was with a fixed dental bridge.

A traditional bridge is a single unit with dental crowns on both ends, and a false tooth in the middle. When the crowns are cemented over teeth on either side of the gap, the false tooth in the middle is held securely in place. The concept works well, but it has a couple of glaring flaws, making implants a better choice in most situations.

Preserving healthy teeth
The first problem with a bridge is the process of putting it in place. A tooth needs to be ground down, and shaped in a certain way before it can be crowned. Because a dental crown encases the tooth in a thick layer of porcelain, it would be far too tall and you would not be able to bite down properly if it was placed on top of an intact tooth. If the crown were made very thin, it would not be strong enough to support the bridge.

Crowning a broken, worn, or decayed tooth is great, because a lot of the structure is already gone and needs replacing. However, it is truly a shame when a healthy tooth must be crowned just to support its neighbor. This is not an issue when the replacement tooth is supported by a dental implant.

Preserving healthy bone
If bridges are detrimental to the teeth that support them, you might expect implants to be detrimental to the jawbone. After all, every time you bite down, the impact on the false tooth is transferred directly to the bone. That must have some effect. Actually it does, but contrary to what you may be expecting, it is a very good effect. That pressure is exactly what the bone is accustomed to, because an implant works just like a tooth root. Without that stimulation, the bone gets small and weak just like a muscle that is never used.

In addition to saving your healthy teeth and jawbone, dental implants look natural, feel comfortable, allow you to eat your favorite foods, and they can last a lifetime. When you see all of this, you probably wonder, “What's the catch?” The only thing is, implants are complicated to install, so you'll want to hire a professional. Call Big Smile Dental at and schedule your appointment today.

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