For patients who are missing a single tooth or several teeth, there are many ways to address these gaps. These include partial dentures, bridges and implants – but what’s the difference? And which option is best for you?
Ultimately, the course of treatment will depend on the individual patient. Factors such as tooth structure, lifestyle and the surrounding teeth will all play a role in this decision, which should be made with the help of your cosmetic dentist.
Below is a rundown of the pros and cons of each treatment option:
In short, partials are removable teeth. They are placed on a metal framework that stays in the mouth, much like a retainer. The great thing about partials is that they require minimal amount of dentistry work and are the most conservative option. In addition, they are the least expensive option when it comes to addressing a gap.
The downside is that partials will move when you chew, and aesthetically, they can show when your smile.
For patients with a space between two teeth, a bridge is a good option. In this scenario, the two teeth on either side are crowned and a porcelain tooth is placed between them.
The disadvantage of a bridge is that the teeth on either side must be crowned, which is a more invasive procedure than a partial. Teeth must be filed down to fit the crown, and it is a shame to do this to “virgin” teeth. However, if the patient has had a good deal of work done, or there’s fillings or decay, then it’s not a bad choice because you can take care of the gap and the other problems at the same time.
Dental implants are a surgical procedure that involves placing a titanium screw with a porcelain tooth into the bone where there is a missing tooth. While implants are the most expensive option to fixing missing teeth, they have the most benefits compared to partials and bridges.
What sometimes deters patients from implants is the amount of time it takes to see full results. There is a three- to six-month healing window before the artificial tooth can be placed in the implant. Yet, it is the most permanent and strongest option and will perform most like a natural tooth.
For more information on partials, bridges or implants, call our office at (813) 689-4226.