Dental Bridges vs. Implants: Which is Better?
Tooth loss has become an extremely common problem, affecting millions of individuals. According to research, more than 69% of adults aged 35 years and above have lost at least one adult tooth. When you lose a tooth, it’s crucial to replace it as soon as possible.
Doing this will keep your jawbone in good health, keep the rest of the teeth aligned, maintain your facial structure, maintain your chewing ability, restore your speech, and most importantly, safeguard your beautiful smile.
When considering tooth replacement, you have several options to choose from – Dentures, dental bridges, and dental implants. For this article, we’ll focus on two treatment options – Dental bridge versus implant. Which one should you choose? Let’s first understand what each treatment entails.
What are Dental Bridges?
A bridge consists of a made-up tooth (pontic), which replaces the missing tooth. The pontic is supported by dental crowns attached to healthy teeth on either side of the missing tooth. Getting a dental bridge is a standard procedure that takes about two appointments.
Unless you’re getting bridges on implants, no surgery is required when placing a traditional, cantilever, or Maryland bridge. However, tooth shaping is necessary to allow the dental crowns to fit properly on the supporting teeth.
What are Dental Implants?
An implant consists of a false tooth that is surgically implanted into the underlying jawbone on the missing tooth. The implant fuses with the jawbone to replace the roots of the missing tooth. After the implant placement, a dental crown is placed over the implant for added strength and protection.
Choosing Between Dental Bridges and Implants
To help you determine which restoration option suits you the best, let’s explore the following factors:
While the cost may differ from office to office, a dental implant will likely cost you more than a bridge. If you have a tight budget that can’t cover the cost of an implant, getting a bridge would be the best option. If both the implants and bridges costs are out of your budget range, you can consult your dentist for affordable options such as dentures.
2. Number of Missing Teeth
If you’re missing multiple teeth, a dental bridge looks like a better option. A single bridge can replace more than two missing teeth. On the contrary, a single implant can only be used to replace one tooth. Replacing multiple teeth with implants would lead to multiple surgeries, which can be inconvenient and expensive.
3. Desired Results
If you’re looking for the best natural results, dental implants are the best option. Since the implant fuses with the underlying jawbone, it becomes a part of your mouth. It will look, work, and feel like your natural tooth. Compared to a dental bridge, an implant offers more stability, strength, and a natural appearance.
Dental implants are the gold standard as far as durability is concerned. If well cared for, a dental implant can serve you for a lifetime. On the contrary, a bridge can only serve you for approximately 10 – 15 years.
Once an implant heals completely, it will look, feel, and function like your natural teeth. This means that you won’t have to do anything out of your regular dental routine. Brushing and flossing between implants is easier than cleaning between bridges.
The major difference between bridge and implant is the procedure. To get an implant, you’ll have to undergo surgery, which can be painful and would take longer to heal. It takes about six months for the implant to heal.
Getting a bridge is a simple procedure that doesn’t involve surgical interventions – only minimal tooth shaping to allow the dental crown to fit properly. Less pain is involved, and the treatment takes only a few weeks.
Since dental implants involve surgery, you must have good oral and overall health. Existing medical conditions can slow down the healing process and could even cause the implant to fail.
Furthermore, you must have a healthy jawbone to get an implant. If you insist, you must undergo bone grafting to repair and regrow the jawbone. If you don’t meet those requirements, you should consider getting dental bridges.
Dental Bridge vs. Implant Pros and Cons
Dental Bridges Pros
- Faster treatment
- Fewer side effects since it doesn’t involve surgery
Dental Bridges Cons
- Not as long-lasting as implants
- Less natural look
- Can damage the surrounding structures
Dental Implants Pros
- Durable – Can last a lifetime
- It gives the most natural results
- No tooth shaping is required, safeguarding the health of the rest of your teeth
- Has a very high success rate
- Easy to maintain
Dental Implants Cons
- Higher costs
- Long treatment periods
- May lead to surgical side effects
Both implants and bridges are great options. It’s up to you to review the pros and cons of each and decide which treatment will serve you the best. Still, it’s important to consult your dentist for professional advice.