March 6, 2023
Table of Contents
An extremely common issue, tooth loss is estimated to affect many people, making it essential to be aware of a proper replacement option for the lost tooth or teeth to maintain the alignment of the rest of your teeth.
Moreover, Tooth Replacement can also help to maintain your facial aesthetics and also avoid any issues with eating or speaking. The two most popular options for tooth replacement are dental bridges and implants.
Dental Bridges vs Dental Implants
What Is a Dental Bridge?
Dental bridges are false teeth secured in place by the teeth around your missing tooth thus bridging the space between the teeth. The restoration option requires anchoring to one or more surrounding teeth that are filed down to function as a support.
One to four teeth can be replaced by a dental bridge based on the needs of the patient. However, Dr. Gaurav Sharma, an expert in tooth restoration at Kirkland Premier Dentistry says that the presence of enough healthy teeth to connect the dental crowns is extremely necessary to replace 4 missing teeth with a bridge so replacing these number of teeth with this option is very rare.
Dental bridges are commonly made from porcelain or plastic to match the natural tooth color.
There are many types of dental bridges for different needs. These include:
- Traditional Dental Bridge
- Cantilever Dental Bridge
- Maryland Dental Bridge
- Implant-Supported Dental Bridge
- Impact-supported bridges
What are Dental Implants?
Artificial tooth roots are usually made from titanium, Dental Implants are mounted into the patient’s jawbone with screws to secure a crown or bridge in place.
Dental Implants are a good option if you have faced tooth loss due to decay, injury, periodontal disease, or other reasons.
Dental Implants are surgically inserted into the jawbone where they then fuse in the process of osseointegration. After the osseointegration process is complete (which usually takes 3-6 months), an abutment is attached to the post, protruding above the gum line to create space where the dental crown is cemented or screwed into.
If you are confused about which of the two is a better option, this article will help you establish the pros and cons of both dental implants and bridges and help you make a decision that which option is better for you.
Pros of a Dental Bridge
Some advantages of dental bridges include:
- Jawbone density is not an issue with the procedure so bone grafting or invasive surgery is not needed
- It’s relatively less costly than implants.
- A missing tooth can be replaced easily.
- A faster procedure as compared to placing the implants.
- Can likely be covered by insurance
- Generally requires only two visits spread over a couple of weeks to the dentistry
- Dental bridges are the more viable option If you have habits like smoking and chewing tobacco.
- Dental bridges are an ideal option if you face significant bone loss in the area of the missing tooth, as then you might lack sufficient space for a dental implant to get anchored in the bone.
Cons of Dental Bridges
Some of the downsides of dental bridges include:
- As the procedure does not replace the root of your tooth, it causes the jawbone to wear away more quickly.
- The crowned teeth around the space can become more vulnerable to decay. Moreover, the placement of the bridge also requires the removal of important parts of the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth or teeth.
- A bridge has a short life span of usually only eight to 15 years before needing a replacement. However, in some cases, it can last for more than 10 years.
- Dental bridges lose their natural-looking appearance with age.
- The affected tooth can get fractured or require a root canal treatment in case the adjacent supporting teeth get decayed. The bridge will then have to be replaced with an even more unaesthetic appearing one as the crown will then be no longer able to cover the space created due to loss of bone.
- Bridges need more maintenance as compared to dental implants to keep them clean and healthy and to protect them against the buildup of bacteria that can result in irritation and gum loss.
Pros of Dental Implants
- Dental implants not only imitate the natural tooth, but they also look, feel, and function like one maintaining your face aesthetics.
- Dental Implants are a strong and stable tooth replacement option and keep your smile confident.
- The site of a missing tooth can incur bone loss in that area. Dental implants help to stimulate and preserve natural bone growth and thus help to prevent bone loss.
- Implants help to prevent the jaw bone from deteriorating,
- Implants Prevent damage to adjacent teeth as it is embedded in the jaw bone, and biting and chewing the food with the new tooth helps to stimulate the bone, and prevents it from shrinking.
- Dental Implants do not put a strain on other teeth as they can stand on their own without the support of the adjacent teeth.
- Dental Implants can last a lifetime with proper care and they require little maintenance like proper flossing, brushing, and regular dentist visits.
Cons of Dental Implants
- Dental implants require invasive surgery as the implant has to be placed in your bone. Though the procedure is safe and simple, every surgery carries some risk. However, it is important to mention here that the progress and advancements in implant technology have reduced the risks and complications from implant procedures to almost negligible ones. At Kirkland Premier Dentistry, Dr. Gaurav Sharma performs many Dental Implant surgeries every year without any complications.
- The procedure takes more time compared to bridges. It may take a few months for the implant to fully and completely integrate into your jaw bone, in the process of
osseointegration, and at least 3 months more before a dental crown is placed on the implant. However, a temporary crown can be created till osseointegration is complete and permanent restoration can be done.
Dental implants are less likely to be covered by insurance.
What Are the Other Factors That Need to Be Considered While Making the Decision?
The Cost of Implants vs Bridges
Dental bridges are normally less expensive than implants at the time of the treatment and at least some of the cost is more likely to be covered by insurance.
The prices of both procedures can vary depending on:
- The type of implant or bridge being put
- Material used
- The magnitude of the procedure
However, the implants may cost more initially but they last much longer and don’t need to be replaced like the bridges every few years. A dental bridge most definitely needs to be replaced in a few years, whereas accurately placed implants can last almost a lifetime.
The cost of treatment of dental bridges, though cheaper initially, may prove more costly than implants in the long run. Also, the pain and discomfort and repeated visits to the dentist with the bridges when put into consideration make implants a better option.
Number of Missing Teeth
A dental bridge is deemed to be a better option than an implant if you are missing more than one successive tooth as a different implant needs to be surgically fixed to your jawbone for each missing tooth, proving the surgery not only to be expensive but also often impractical.
Dental implants may not be an ideal choice for people with medical conditions like diabetes or leukemia as these can slow down the healing process after the surgery.
Good general health and a jawbone that is healthy enough to support the implant and is free from any decay is a prerequisites with the implants.
Time Of The Treatment
Dental Implants can last a lifetime because of their strength and features. The oral surgeon drills into your jawbone to attach the root of the implant to the bone.
A temporary denture may be inserted while you wait for the bone to heal which might be 4-6 months. Thus the whole process of getting a dental implant is also quite lengthy and can take a few months whereas a dental bridge can be put in as less as two trips to the dentist in a couple of weeks.
Which is a Better Option for me?
The two most common options for tooth restoration are Dental implants and bridges. Whereas dental bridges are more likely to be covered by insurance and have a smaller upfront cost, they might need a replacement every few years.
However, if you are in good overall health and cost is not an issue, dental implants may be the better choice. Dental Implants not only last longer and look completely natural, but they also do not cause any damage to your surrounding teeth.
Now that you have a comparison between both treatment options, you should be in the position to make an informed decision while making a choice when it comes to tooth restoration.
However, if you want more clarity on the issue, Dr. Gaurav Sharma at Kirkland Premier Dentistry can help you with the best tooth replacement for your situation.