Are you torn between getting dental bridges or dental implants? It can be difficult for patients to make the right decision when they may not fully understand the ins and outs of both procedures. In this article you’ll find all the information you need, to make the best choice for you and your missing tooth.
Missing teeth not only change your appearance. They can also be painful, impact your self-confidence, affect the way you speak or pronounce certain words and, not to mention, the way you eat. Missing teeth can also lead to serious dental problems, including gum disease and bone loss.
When replacing a missing tooth, your dentist will suggest using either a dental bridge or an implant to support the gap between teeth. Dental bridges are used to support a replacement tooth between two crowns, while an implant recreates the hold of a root which is fixed into the bone of the jaw. Each one of these dental fixes has pros and cons which we have compared later in the article.
We asked specialist Amanda Napitu which solution, dental implant or bridge, she would recommend first, and she said, “Dental implants are generally considered the best solution for a missing tooth since they mimic the natural tooth root. Without this anchor in the jaw, the bone will recede and may start to affect facial aesthetics. However, dental implants do cost considerably more than bridges, and this is an important consideration for the majority of patients. Both are a permanent, fixed solution to missing teeth, and both should last ten years
or more with proper care. So although dental implants may be the ideal treatment, a dental bridge can still be a good solution for patients who don’t want removable dentures or who have the insufficient bone density to support an implant.“
There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to get a dental bridge or implant. First, it’s important to remember the distinct differences between the two surgeries.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge means that your dentist uses existing natural teeth on both sides of your missing tooth (or teeth) to help hold your bridge in place. Building and fitting a bridge usually takes more than one dental visit.
There are primarily three types of bridges:
- Traditional fixed bridges: The most common type of bridge, including two or more crowns and a false/filler tooth. There may be more than one false tooth which attaches to the connecting crowns (depending on the number of missing teeth that the bridge is replacing).
- Cantilever bridges: This type of bridge is no longer commonly used. It is implemented when the missing tooth is next to a tooth on both sides. This type of bridge is attached to just one crown. It should not be placed in the back of the mouth because it can put too much force on other teeth, potentially causing damage.
- Resin-bonded bridges: This type of bridge is often used to replace missing teeth in the front of the mouth. It is made of porcelain that is fused to metal teeth, supported by a metal framework.
What is a dental implant?
The main difference between a bridge and an implant is that a dental implant is placed directly into your jawbone, where they provide an artificial replacement for the root of the missing tooth or teeth. They can support crowns or dentures, in a similar way that sources support natural teeth. Dental implants offer a long-lasting and discreet choice of treatment for replacing teeth.
A dental implant itself is a titanium screw replacing your missing tooth root. After it’s fitted, the bone surrounding your implant will gradually fuse to it, holding the implant firmly in place. A false tooth (a crown or denture) is then fitted to the top of the implant, giving a natural look to your smile. You can have a single implant, or you can have multiple ones if you need more than one tooth replaced. It is possible to have several implants fitted in the same procedure.
What’s the difference between a dental bridge and a dental implant?
Below we’ve created a comparison table to understand better the six primary differences between dental bridges and dental implants.
|Factors||Dental Bridges||Dental Implants|
|Oral aftercare & maintenance||Requires good level of oral hygiene. Flossing is harder and more tedious.||Requires high level of oral hygiene and aftercare to prevent infection.|
|Durability||Could last a lifetime.||Could last a lifetime.|
|Appearance||If done well. You should not see the difference between your original teeth and the bridge.||Hidden beneath gums and not visible.|
|Cost||More cost effective.||Can be more expensive when replacing multiple teeth.|
|Duration of treatment||1 – 3 weeks.||8 – 8 months.|
|Health benefits||Will not provide any long-term benefits in jawbone restoration.||Provides more support to adjacent teeth and promotes healing of jawbones.|
The main benefits of using dental implants are lifetime durability, appearance as they are hidden beneath the gums, healing promotion of the jawbone, and providing support for adjacent teeth. However, dental bridges have the advantage of being cost-effective and requiring a shorter treatment duration. Overall, both dental bridges and implants will need an adequate level of oral hygiene and will restore a natural smile for patients.
Dr Pooneh Ramezani shares her insights into choosing between a bridge and an implant, “A bridge is a permanent restoration that anchors on to existing teeth on either side of the missing tooth and has a replacement for the missing tooth. It’s a one-piece restoration consisting of the missing tooth and the anchors that hold it in the mouth. Both dental implants and bridges solve the problem of missing teeth.“
Why choose Swedish dental?
At Swedish dental, we offer the latest dental implant treatment technology through Navigation Tooth Implant Procedure and guided dental implant tooth surgery. Our patients can go back to work the same day if they want or at least the day after. This is possible because of the minimally invasive treatment.