People often find themselves wondering how to decide between a dental bridge vs. implant. Both dental devices can be used to replace missing teeth and restore the patient’s smile.
However, there are key differences between these two popular devices.
Dental Implant vs. Dental Bridge
1. What are Dental Implants?
An implant is an artificial tooth root that has a crown placed on top of it. The implant is typically made out of titanium.
In certain cases, zirconium is used instead. Since the implant replaces the missing roots of the lost tooth, it keeps the jawbone properly stimulated, preserving bone tissue.
When the root of a tooth is missing, the jaw stops being properly stimulated and the bone tissue that is meant to hold the tooth in place begins to disintegrate. This can lead to significant changes in a person’s appearance.
During the procedure, the dentist will surgically insert the device into the patient’s jawbone. It is then given a period of about seven months to fuse with the surrounding tissue holding it in place.
Once this fusion, called osseointegration, is complete, a crown is placed on the external-facing end. Certain types of implants have crowns attached to them the same day they are inserted into the patient’s jawbone.
Pros of dental implants:
- Helps preserve the patient’s jawbone
- Prevents remaining teeth from moving out of their proper alignment
- Restores the appearance of the patient’s teeth
- Restores the function of the missing tooth
- Can last an entire lifetime if the patient has good oral hygiene
- Does not require any specialized cleaning
Cons of dental implants:
- Getting implants requires surgery
- Implants are the pricier option
- Not all patients are eligible for implants
2. Dental bridges
A dental bridge consists of two main components: a pair of teeth that are closest to the gap on both sides, which are used to hold the device in place, and a set of artificial teeth that bridge the gap in the person’s smile.
Crowns are often placed on the teeth that are used as anchors to strengthen them.
Dental bridges are the less invasive and more affordable option. Depending on if CEREC technology is available, a patient can get a bridge created and installed during a single visit.
Pros of dental bridges:
- Dental bridges are the more affordable option
- It involves a less invasive procedure
- It prevents the remaining teeth from moving out of alignment
- The entire process can be done during a single visit to the dentist
- Most patients qualify for dental bridges
- It restores the look and function of the lost teeth
Cons of dental bridges:
- Dental bridges do not address the bone tissue loss that occurs when a person loses a tooth
- Dental bridges are more difficult to clean than real teeth
- Bridges do not last a lifetime
- The anchor teeth often have to be altered before bridges are fitted
Now you know the difference between dental implants and dental bridges.