15th June 2015
Filling the gap: Single implants vs. dental bridge
If you have a single missing tooth, you may be trying to decide whether to have a dental bridge to fill the gap or to invest in a dental implant.
Historically, a dental bridge has been the most common treatment for the loss of a single tooth and is still popular and effective. However, a significant downside is that, in order to secure a dental bridge, we have to grind down the healthy natural teeth on either side of the gap to support it. Over time, these damaged healthy teeth can become unstable and vulnerable to decay, leading to further problems. Obviously, this isn’t desirable.
Although both dental bridges and dental implants can look very natural, we believe that replacing a missing tooth with a single dental implant has clear advantages.
A dental implant looks and functions like a natural tooth
With a dental implant, we place a strong titanium post directly into your jawbone – this is the implant. It sits where your root would have sat and stimulates the bone to strengthen and ossify around it, providing a solid foundation on which to attach a prosthetic tooth. As the dental implant is a standalone restoration, your surrounding natural teeth are left undamaged.
Because of this integration with your bone, a dental implant functions with a strength that is comparable to a natural tooth. It also looks completely natural and people cannot tell from looking at you that you have a restoration.
Dental implants better preserve your bone
The roots of our teeth have several important functions. One of these is to stimulate the jaw bone so that it maintains its strength and density. A consequence of tooth loss is usually bone loss, which, in turn, can affect your underlying facial structure, your bite and even your speech. Having single implants at our Clapham, London practice instead of a dental bridge will help protect against the problems associated with bone loss.
Single implants are easier to clean
A single dental implant is easier to clean than a dental bridge, as you are able to brush and floss in the same way as your natural teeth. This can also help to protect you from gum disease, which can otherwise cause receding gums. When your gums recede around a dental bridge, it tends to reveal the metal base or collar of the bridge, destroying the aesthetic finish of the restoration. Gum disease is also associated with wider health problems, such as cardiovascular problems, stroke and certain types of cancer, so any steps we can take to help you prevent it are important.
Dental implants are long lasting
If cared for properly, i.e. brushing and flossing twice a day, and visiting regular dental check-ups and hygienist appointments, single implants from our Clapham, London practice have the potential to last a lifetime, whereas a dental bridge may only last between five to 15 years.
A long-term investment
We understand that the cost of a single dental implant is initially higher than a dental bridge, and that a dental bridge may be available through an NHS dentist whereas dental implants are only available privately.
However, taken over its lifetime, a single implant may be one of the best investments you can make in your health. As we’ve explained above, dental bridges tend to have a limited life and, because decay can work its way under the crowns that sit on your previously healthy, filed down neighbouring teeth, you may find that you eventually need a larger bridge or that a bridge is no longer a viable option to replace your missing tooth. In turn, this may mean that you have to consider other dental treatments.
The cost of replacing your dental bridge every ten years and having associated dental work on the anchor teeth for your bridge is likely to eventually overtake the cost of your single implant. We have found that, with dental implants, we are able to help patients’ oral health become very stable and, with regular check-ups and hygienist appointments, minimise the risk of future problems.
If you would like to find out more about single implants in Clapham, London, at Crescent Lodge Dental Practice, please give us a call on 020 7622 5333 to book an appointment.