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Implants vs. Bridges: The Fight for a Flawless Smile Continues in Staten Island

If you have a missing tooth (or missing teeth), contact our Staten Island office today to go over your options – including dental bridges and dental implants.

Losing a tooth – ugh. It used to be cool when we were kids, but that’s because a new tooth was growing in right behind it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with adult teeth – once they’re gone, they’re gone. 

Well, sort of. 

The tooth might be gone, but your favorite Staten Island dentist (Dr. Joseph Cipriano) can replace it.

So, before you start panicking, let’s take a moment to appreciate the fact that this is 2024 – and we have a little thing called technology. And with this great technology, the Staten Island community has options.

And the options we have today are far better than those we had in the past. 

I mean, let’s be happy we’re not living in 2000 BC – when ancient civilizations in China used carved bamboo pegs to replace teeth. Seashells, ivory, animal bones – ancient history wasn’t too kind to teeth. 

Those days are behind us, though. 

Today, we have dental bridges and dental implants. They’re both designed to replace missing teeth while mimicking appearance and function as best as possible – but what’s the difference between them? Is one better than the other? Which one is right for you? Don’t worry – we’ll answer all of your questions below!

Bridging the Gap: Making a Case for Dental Bridges

A dental bridge – as the name suggests – is your key to bridging that pesky gap in your smile. It’s one of the most affordable restorative options for a missing tooth, and usually lasts anywhere from 5 to 15 years. 

So, what is a dental bridge, exactly? 

Dental bridges have two primary working parts – the pontic and the crown(s). The pontic (an artificial tooth) sits in the gap created by the missing tooth, while the crown(s) are custom-designed to fit over the tooth or teeth on either side of the gap. The pontic and crown(s) are then cemented or affixed together. 

There are several different types of dental bridges: 

  • Traditional Dental Bridge - the pontic is connected to two crowns, which fit over the natural teeth on each side of the bridge.
  • Cantilever Dental Bridge - the pontic is connected to one crown, which fits over the natural tooth to the right or left of the gap.
  • Maryland Dental Bridge - the pontic is connected to a metal framework attached to the adjacent natural teeth. 

So, why might someone want a bridge over an implant? 

Well, let’s start with the obvious – the initial cost of a bridge is much lower than an implant, and bridges are more likely to be covered by insurance. As for the procedure, it’s far less invasive, much quicker, and usually only takes two visits (several weeks apart) to restore the patient’s smile. 

Planting the Seed: Making a Case for Dental Implants

A dental implant is a little more permanent and durable than a bridge, which is why many people consider it the ‘gold standard’ when replacing a tooth -- or, in this case, the 'titanium standard.'

So, what is a dental implant, exactly? 

Dental implants have three working parts – the crown, abutment, and post. The post, usually made of titanium, is implanted directly into the jawbone and acts as the root of the new tooth. The abutment connects the crown to the post, securing the new tooth in place – sometimes better than a natural tooth. 

The procedure involves four major steps: 

  • Pulling the damaged teeth, if they’re not already missing.
  • Performing a bone graft to ensure a strong foundation. 
  • Placing the dental implant (new root) into the jawbone. 
  • Mounting the crown onto the abutment for a complete smile.

So, why might someone want an implant over a bridge? 

We already touched on the central selling point – durability and stability. With a new root, your tooth isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, with most implants lasting anywhere from 10 to 30 years. They also won’t damage any neighboring teeth, won’t get cavities, and prevent further bone loss – unlike dental bridges.

Making a Case for Teamwork: Can These Two Benefit Each Other? 

Dental implants and dental bridges can be used to replace any number of missing teeth -- it all depends on the individual patient, their preferences, and their oral health -- but can they be used together?

You betcha!

This is called an implant-supported dental bridge – and it offers the best of both worlds!

It looks like a bridge and acts like a bridge, but it is reinforced by two dental implants – instead of two crowns sitting atop two natural abutment teeth that have been filed down (like a traditional bridge).

Implant-supported bridges are more durable. They won’t damage any of your healthy teeth in the process. They prevent bone loss by stimulating the jawbone. And they’re the closest thing to a natural tooth. 

If you want the best of the best for your teeth, an implant-supported dental bridge is usually the option – though it’s not for everyone. Don’t worry – Dr. Joseph Cipriano will help you narrow down your options!

Bridges vs. Implants: Let’s Make That Decision Together

Are you missing a tooth – or worse, missing teeth? Are you looking for a more durable and comfortable alternative to dentures? Do you want to fill that pesky gap in your smile with a beautiful new tooth? 

Look, we understand dental procedures aren’t the most enjoyable thing on this planet, but Healthy Smiles goes above and beyond to provide a memorable and uplifting experience for every patient. 

Whether you’re interested in a dental bridge, dental implant, a combination of both, or simply want to go over your options – Dr. Joseph Cipriano is here for the Staten Island community. We can have your smile corrected in just a few quick visits – so don’t hesitate to contact us today! We can’t wait to meet you!