The dental implant is a surgically inserted metal rod or screw. It is implanted inside the jawbone of a patient. Thus, not only does the implant replace the crown of a tooth, it also replaces the dental root. Once in place, the dental implant connects with the jawbone through a process called osseointegration. This fusion takes place over the course of about 2 to 4 months. However, once it is complete, it allows the implant to be just as stable as a natural tooth would be.
Here are a few ways in which dental implants and dental bridges differ:
Dental implants continue to stimulate the development of new jawbone cells.
Because the dental implant rests inside the jawbone, just as the root of a natural tooth would, the implant transfers stimulating bite pressure each time the dental patient bites or chews. This stimulation helps maintain the density of the jawbone.
A dental bridge does not maintain the same transference of bite pressure. The false teeth of a dental bridge actually rest just above the gum line. This positioning prevents the pressure received from the false tooth from reaching the bone.
Dental implants do not involve the altering of any natural teeth.
The installation of a dental implant and the placement of the abutment and crown are not dependent on natural teeth. The stability of the implant is based on its fusion with the jawbone.
However, a dental bridge is stabilized by dental crowns that are bonded to natural teeth that surround the gap left by the dental implant. Before the crowns can be placed, the natural teeth to which the crowns will be affixed must be prepared for the placement of the crowns. This preparation involves the debriding of the teeth so that the crown placement does not alter the dental alignment of the patient.
Dental implants also differ in expected longevity.
A dental implant is likely to last the lifetime of the patient. However, a dental bridge, although it is a long-lasting dental appliance, is likely to last five to 15 years or more.
If you are considering the replacement of a lost tooth and would like to learn more about the benefits of a dental implant, consult with a dentist in your area, such as one from Mount Royal Dental. He or she can assess your dental and medical condition to determine whether or not a dental implant is a suitable option for your missing tooth.