Dental bridges and implants are practical options for people with missing teeth who want to enhance their smile in a natural-looking way.
But there are differences between bridges and implants and which one best suits can depend on several variables. The following comparison between the two procedures may help you to make the best choice.
Dental Bridge vs Implant: Pros, Cons, and Differences
The tooth implant vs bridge debate begins with the definitions of each:
A dental implant involves placing a small titanium cylinder in the jaw at the site of the missing tooth. A bond between the cylinder creates an artificial root on top of which the artificial tooth is placed.
A dental bridge consists of a pair of crowns used to create a bridge that holds an artificial tooth. In a traditional bridge, the artificial tooth covers the gap left by the missing tooth but isn't fixed to the jaw. You can learn more about what a dental bridge is here.
For now, know that your dentist may also decide to create a bridge by shaping the teeth on either side of the artificial tooth, or by cementing the bridge into your mouth.
The Pros of Implants
There are several reasons why getting an implant is a great option for filling the gap left by a missing tooth:
Implants don't affect surrounding teeth but replace missing teeth individually.
Implants are durable because they fuse with the jawbone due to their metal root. An implant may last 10 to 15 years.
A transplant serves as a substitute tooth root and therefore helps prevent bone loss that's accelerated by missing teeth.
The Pros of Bridges
One of the benefits of a bridge is that the artificial tooth doesn't need to be removed for cleaning. Instead, it's cemented to your adjacent teeth.
A bridge also takes less time to get used to because it's small and lightweight.
Common Problems with Dental Bridges and Implants
Implants are more expensive than bridges because, in part, they involve a multi-step process that some dental insurance plans don't cover. Also, bridgework is considered a surgical procedure and the process may take several months.
Among the cons of a dental bridge is that it typically doesn't last as long as an implant. Bridges also require support from the other teeth that help hold the artificial tooth in place, while the false tooth also is harder to brush and floss.
Something else to consider in the tooth implant vs bridge decision process is how long the tooth has been missing. The gum and jawbone recede in proportion to how long the tooth is missing, and your jaw may not be strong enough to support an implant.
At Rogoff Dental Group here in Santa Fe, NM we value your family’s wellbeing. We don’t want you to get to the point of where you need a dental bridge or implant. If we can avoid it, that’s our preference. And the best way to do that is prevention efforts - why not start young! Check out our article here about taking care of your child’s teeth. Get them started early so we can avoid major dental prosthetics if at all possible.
As always, we are here for you. Let us know how we can help.