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Dental implants are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth. Because they fuse with the jawbone, they offer firm support to man-made teeth such as dentures or bridges. This secure fit makes man-made teeth feel more natural than typical bridges or dentures.
Dental bridges literally bridge the gap where one or more teeth may have been. The restoration can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support. Bridges can be removable, which you can take out and clean, or fixed, a type of bridge that can only be removed by a dentist. Depending on which type of bridge your dentist recommends, its success depends on its foundation. So it's very important to keep your remaining teeth healthy and strong.
Sometimes people get confused about "bridgework". To some, it can mean a removable partial, or even a "flipper", and to others it means something that is cemented on the adjacent teeth. The main "difference" in implants and "bridges", is the issue of replacing the actual missing teeth! With implants, often times you just replace the missing teeth, but sometimes the implants are supporting a removable device as well-which adds to the confusion. With "bride work", it usually means fixing artificial teeth to adjacent natural teeth (unless you’re talking about removable "bridgework" that is). This issue is often the source of great bewilderment when talking with friends and family about implants and bridges! Some of it is because of the vocabulary we use unfortunately. The best advice is to consult your Dentist and present your situation for discussion to find the best solution.
A dental bridge requires that teeth near the missing tooth are used as support. This means that those adjacent teeth are whittled down and capped, destroying the look of your original teeth. Implants do not harm your adjacent teeth at all, and are seen as a much better tooth-saving solution for missing teeth.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.