HEALTHWATCH: Implants vs. Bridges

Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 12:46 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - For Feb. 16′s HealthWatch segment, News Channel 6 sat down with expert Dr. Dustin Van Tassell at StarImage Dentistry about the functionality of implants and bridges and how they differentiate.

”Implants are titanium or zirconia screw that can go up into the bone and it helps to support a single or multiple teeth at a time. So it is meant to replace the root of the tooth,” Van Tassell said.

Implants typically replace one or two teeth. An option for replacing multiple teeth at a time is a bridge.

”A bridge is something that is made out of porcelain, that connects to adjacent teeth between a spot where there is no tooth at all,” said Van Tassell.

Both replace teeth but they function differently.

“So when you take the functionality of an implant, when you have to lose a tooth, there’s nothing better than replacing the individual tooth with the implant. It actually functions just like the natural tooth, so we’re able to get the better aesthetics and better function after just the individual implant,” said Van Tassell.

When it comes to the bridge, while it looks like a natural tooth, some things are harder to do.

”You can’t brush or floss exactly like you would an individual tooth. You can’t pass floss down through it. So you have to use something like a water pick, or you have to use a floss threader to get underneath and to floss underneath it,” said Van Tassell.

If you’re not sure whether a bridge or an implant is suitable for your needs, Van Tassell said to weigh your options.

”If somebody is wanting something done now and not have to wait, a bridge is typically the better option,” said Van Tassell.

A bridge can be done in a couple of weeks.

”For an implant, some of the times we have to delay for a few months after taking a tooth out. Sometimes when we place the implant, we have to delay a few months to put a crown on that,” said Van Tassell.

An implant would be a better option in the long run.

If you’re worried if this affects the food that you eat, Van Tassell said to avoid breakage with a bridge, you want to be careful eating foods that are harder. With implants, you won’t have to worry about breaking the implant or the adjacent teeth due to its stability.