At Golden Gate Dental in San Francisco, Dr. Inessa Sosis offers restorative dentistry options that can replace missing teeth, giving you your functionality and smile back. However, it can be difficult to understand which procedure is right for you. Let’s examine dental implants and how they differ from dental bridges, so you can choose the restorative option that works for your lifestyle.
Understanding Dental Implants
Dental implants are permanent restorations that are used to restore a single tooth. A post is implanted directly into the jawbone where the root of the missing tooth used to be.
Over 3-6 months, the post will fuse to the jawbone and your gums will heal. This provides an attachment point for an abutment and dental crown. The crown is designed to be the same size, shape and color of the original tooth for a seamless fit for your smile.
- Permanent – The primary benefit of dental implants is that they are totally permanent. With proper care, they can easily last for the rest of your life.
- Requires no specialized care – Proper care simply means brushing and flossing twice a day. If you already adhere to a great oral hygiene regimen, you’re good to go!
- Natural appearance and feeling – When placed properly, dental implants feel completely natural, and are indistinguishable from your original tooth.
- Can be expensive – Compared to dental bridges, dental implants are more expensive. However, they last much longer. It’s a matter of upfront cost versus cost over time.
- Requires surgery – Dental implants require surgery, and some patients may be uncomfortable with the implantation process. Others may not be good candidates for oral surgery, in which case dental bridges may be a better option.
- May not be covered by insurance – Some insurance companies only cover certain procedures. Check with your insurance company to see your options.
Understanding Dental Bridges
When a dental bridge is placed, the teeth on either side of the gap are capped with dental crowns. Attached to these crowns is a false tooth, which acts as the bridge that restores your smile.
- Less expensive – Dental bridges are usually less expensive than dental implants, and are usually covered by insurance.
- Minimally invasive – Preparing teeth for dental crowns is a minimally invasive procedure, and requires no surgery.
- A quick solution – Dental bridges can be placed in just a couple appointments, making it a relatively quick fix.
- Takes adjustment to fit correctly – Dental bridges can be a bit finicky to fit correctly, so you may need to have your bridge adjusted.
- Shorter-term solution – Dental bridges must be replaced every 10-15 years, or even sooner, depending on your oral hygiene habits.
- Requires operation on surrounding teeth – The two teeth surrounding your missing tooth must be prepared for dental crowns by removing the majority of the natural enamel.
So What’s Best For Me?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. But the first step for every patient is to make an appointment with your dentist so your oral health can be evaluated, and we can find the right option for you.
Learn all about the restorative dentistry procedures offered at Golden Gate Dental today. Dr. Sosis can give you her expert opinion so you can get your quality of life back. Schedule an appointment by calling (415) 843-4079, or visit our office near Golden Gate Park, located at 3200 Fulton St. San Francisco, CA 94118.