Dental Bridge vs. Implant: Which One Should You Choose?

October 27, 2023

Replacing missing teeth is a major decision. There are so many options, it can be confusing. Two of the most popular options for missing teeth replacement are dental bridges and dental implants.

Both options are viable solutions for missing teeth. However, they do have some differences. This article will explore these two options to help you decide which one better meets your personal needs and situation.


What is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge is a tooth replacement device that bridges the gap left behind by missing teeth. The device consists of dental crowns on each end with pontics, or artificial teeth, between. The dental crowns are typically attached to the neighboring healthy teeth, but may be attached to dental implants placed on each side of the gap.

In some cases, some of the enamel must be removed to allow space for the crowns to fit on the teeth. Dental crowns are made from a variety of materials such as porcelain, metal, or a combination of the two. Dental bridges are not removable.

What are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is a small metal or ceramic screw/post that is surgically implanted into the jawbone, acting as an artificial root. During healing, the jawbone heals around and fuses with the implant, creating a permanent, stable bond. This is known as osseointegration.

Once osseointegration has occurred, a custom dental crown is secured to the screw/post providing a natural-looking, durable replacement for the missing tooth. Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or can be used to support a dental bridge or a full set of dentures.


What are the Differences between a Dental Bridge vs Dental Implant


Basis of DifferenceDental BridgeDental Implant
Average CostGenerally more affordable upfront but may require replacement over time.Initially higher cost but can last a lifetime with proper care.
DurabilityTypically lasts 5-15 years before needing replacementIt can last a lifetime with proper maintenance.
Treatment TimeFaster treatment can be completed in a few weeksRequires a longer process, spanning several months, including healing time
Impact on Oral HealthRequires altering adjacent teeth, potentially compromising their health.Preserves adjacent teeth and stimulates the jawbone, promoting overall oral health.
MaintenanceNeeds regular cleaning and flossing; may require special floss threaders for cleaning underneath the pontic.Similar maintenance to natural teeth, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups.


Bridge vs Implants: Which One is Better?

The decision between a dental bridge and a dental implant is a major one and is very personal. There are several things to consider when making this choice:

  • Dentist’s recommendation: Your dentist will assess your oral and overall health, the condition of remaining natural teeth, and your specific needs
  • Durability: Dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance, while dental bridges may need to be replaced.
  • Cost: At first glance, dental bridges seem to be more cost-effective upfront. However, there are long-term expenses including replacement costs every 5 to 15 years. Dental implants are a larger investment upfront but don’t need to be replaced.
  • Impact on Oral Health: Dental bridges require neighboring teeth to be altered, which impacts their health. Dental implants do not have any impact on the health of neighboring teeth and support the health of the jawbone by replacing the stimulation lost by missing teeth.
  • Aesthetics: While both options can be fabricated to look natural, dental implants usually offer a more realistic, seamless appearance since they are anchored to the jawbone like natural teeth
  • Treatment Time: Dental bridges only require a few visits, which can be completed within a few weeks. Dental implants, on the other hand, require an invasive surgery and an extensive healing period.
  • Maintenance: Dental bridges must be cleaned regularly and usually requires a special tool to clean under the pontic. Dental implants can be brushed and flossed just like natural teeth. Both options require regular dental visits to monitor the success of the replacement.
  • Jawbone Health: Dental implants require adequate jawbone density/health for support, which means if you’ve had extensive jawbone loss, you may need a bone graft, which will extend treatment time. Dental bridges do not require the jawbone for support.
  • Personal Preferences: Consider how you feel about each one: do you prefer the convenience of a dental bridge, or would you prefer a more durable, natural tooth replacement?
  • Insurance coverage: Most dental insurance providers will cover restorative dentistry to a certain point. Our office staff will work with your insurance to determine your coverage.

The decision is ultimately yours- but your dentist will be happy to provide as much guidance as you need. Feel free to ask any questions and bring up any concerns that you might have.


Schedule Your Visit Today at Innovative Dental and Orthodontics

If you are missing one or more teeth, schedule your visit at Innovative Dental and Orthodontics today. We offer a variety of restorative procedures including dental bridges and dental implants. Our expert dentists will work with you to create a plan that fits your needs, expectations, and budget.

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