Dental implants are currently the number one tooth replacement option available. They’re strong, they’re resilient, and once they are healed, they look and feel just like natural teeth. However, there are certain instances in which dental bridges are more suitable than implants. Today, our Denver team at Metropolitan Dental Care explores this topic so you can be well-informed about all of your treatment options.
If you’re missing one or more teeth and would like to learn more about replacement options, schedule a visit at our Denver or Lone Tree office. Call us today at 303-534-2626.
When You’re Not a Good Candidate for Surgery
In order to qualify for dental implants, patients must be healthy enough to undergo oral surgery. In other words, they should be free of any medical condition that would make surgery a potential risk. Individuals who have difficulty healing after surgery are typically not good candidates for implants. This includes patients with uncontrolled diabetes and other conditions affecting the body immune system. Additionally, prolonged use of biphosphates for osteoporosis may interfere with the overall success of dental implants. In these instances, dental bridges may be recommended over implants.
When You Want Faster Treatment
Most patients considering dental implants will need to commit to several months of treatment and multiple office visits. While most individuals find the wait well worth it, there are others who simply want faster treatment than what is possible with implants.
Dental bridges can be an excellent option in these cases. Placement of a bridge can usually be completed in just a couple of weeks (as opposed to 3-6 months with implants).
When You Have Too Much Bone Loss
When teeth have been missing for a long time, the supporting jawbone can deteriorate eventually. Because dental implants must be placed into dense, strong bone tissue, atrophy of the jawbone can have a significant impact on eligibility for this type of treatment.
A dental bridge requires that the adjacent teeth be healthy and free of decay and disease. However, bone loss in the area of the missing tooth usually does not prevent patients from receiving a dental bridge. The type of bone loss also plays a role. For example, vertical bone loss can be challenging to repair; but in cases of horizontal bone loss, bone grafting can help tremendously.
About Bone Grafting
Patients who do not qualify for implants due to bone loss can increase their eligibility with a bone grafting procedure. During this surgical treatment, bone grafting material is added to the areas of deficiency. (The material can either be obtained from another portion of the jawbone, or it can be purchased from a bone and tissue bank.)
Generally, once the bone grafting procedure is complete, a few months of healing are necessary before the implant can be placed. However, many of our patients find bone grafting is worth the time and money so they can have the treatment they desire.
When You Use Tobacco Products
It’s not unheard of to place implants in smokers or tobacco users. However, because tobacco products have a negative impact on healing, we encourage patients to stop smoking altogether if possible. That being said, dental bridges may be more appropriate in certain cases where tobacco use is involved.
Learn More about Dental Bridges at Our Denver Practice
If you are thinking about teeth replacement options, our Denver team can help you decide between a dental bridge and an implant. Schedule a visit at Metropolitan Dental Care to explore your options. Contact us online anytime or call us at 303-534-2626.