Implant or Bridge?
To make things simple, let’s look at a case where only 1 tooth is missing with teeth surrounding this gap:
1.THE DENTAL BRIDGE: The dental bridge is a really fast way (only 2 visits) to replace a missing tooth. The strength and lifespan depends on the 2 anchor teeth. It is thus crucial to evaluate these anchor teeth first to determine if they can support the bridge.
If these 2 anchor teeth are virgin (without any restorations) healthy teeth, it will not be advisable to prepare them for a dental brdieg as a lot of healthy tooth structure will have to be removed. This will not be a good idea and although in the past this was a real option today we know better.
If one of these anchors fail, chances are that you will then loose the bridge.
*Prices(2017): R4500 per anchor (R4500 x 3 = R13500 )
2. THE DENTAL IMPLANT: The great thing about having a dental implant is that you get a brand new tooth back for the one that you have lost. (ideal) No dental work is done on the surrounding teeth. The downside is the higher cost and the time. Usually it takes 2-3 months as there is a healing period where we have to wait for the bone to stabilise.
If comparing apples to apples and the 2 anchor teeth are virgin healthy teeth, the implant is the beter long term option by far.
Other factors that play a role is the age of the patient and general health.
An elderly patient might be OK with a 10 – 20 year outcome and therefore a bridge. Also general health is important and the rule of thumb is that if you are healthy enough to have a tooth removed, then you are fit to have an implant placed.
*Prices(2017): +- R18 000 per implant (crown is inclusive)