Posted on: 29 October 2020Share
Years ago, if you lost a tooth, a dentist would usually replace that tooth with a traditional bridge — a false tooth that connected to the neighboring teeth via a combination of prongs and cement. In recent years, dental implants have become more common, and many dentists have begun recommending them over dental bridges in various situations. However, there are still times when a bridge is more appropriate. Here are some reasons why patients may choose bridges over implants.
Insurance may only cover a bridge.
Dental insurance plans have not always caught up to the trends and the latest research. Specifically, some plans do not cover dental implants and consider them to be a cosmetic device. They do, however, cover dental bridges. If this is the case with your insurance plan, it may cost you a lot of money out of pocket to get an implant, whereas a bridge is essentially free. If you can't afford an implant out of pocket, then a dental bridge may be the most affordable tooth replacement option.
You may have a health condition that makes implant surgery risky.
Dental implant surgery is not a very involved or complex procedure as far as surgery goes. However, it does require that an incision is made in your gums, and your body will have to heal your jawbone in order to stabilize the implants. If you have diabetes, osteoporosis, HIV, or another condition that affects your body's ability to heal, then your dentist may determine that it's not safe for you to have implant surgery. A bridge provides a safer tooth replacement option that won't put you at risk for infection or poor healing.
You have small or shallow jawbones.
A dental implant needs to be inserted into your jaw bone for stability. If your jawbone is very small or shallow, this may not be possible. Some people are simply born with small jawbones that make implant insertion challenging. For other people, a condition like osteoporosis may have caused the jawbone to decrease in size over time. Bone grafts can make implant insertion possible, but they are time-consuming and costly. A dental bridge may be an easier solution for those with small jawbones.
Dental bridges can be an effective and affordable alternative to dental implants. If you are concerned that an implant won't be a good fit for whatever reason, contact your dentist to learn more about dental bridges.