If you’re ready to find a solution for your missing teeth, you may wonder, “Are dental implants better than bridges?”
First, you should know that tooth loss is quite common. More than two-thirds (69%) of adults between the ages of 35 and 44 have lost one or more of their permanent teeth. That means it’s likely that you – or someone you know – understand how frustrating it can be to have a missing tooth.
There are many different reasons someone might lose a tooth, including periodontal disease, decay, injury, or genetics. Dental restoration has come a long way from the ancient practice of using carved stone to fill in the space of a missing tooth, and dental implants and bridges are two of the most popular modern solutions.
So, which option is best? Is an implant better than a bridge?
In this post, we’ll answer some of the top questions we get, including:
- What is a dental implant vs. bridge?
- Are dental implants better than bridges?
- What are the pros and cons of a permanent bridge vs. implant?
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of dental implants vs. bridges and how your dentist will determine the best decision for your smile.
Implant vs. Bridge
Before deciding which dental restoration solution is best, you must understand how each option works. Let’s break down a permanent bridge vs. implant.
What Is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a small, titanium post that’s surgically placed into the jawbone and serves as a replacement for the missing tooth root. Once the implant has fused with the bone, your dentist attaches a dental crown to the implant to fill in the gap left by the missing tooth.
What Is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a false tooth (or pontic) held in place by two dental crowns placed over the adjacent teeth. The pontic essentially “bridges” the gap left by the missing tooth. Bridges have the appearance of natural teeth and can be used to restore both the function and aesthetics of your smile.
Wondering, “Should I get an implant or a bridge?” Let’s look at the main differences between the two.
Difference Between Bridges and Implants
Dental implants and bridges are popular solutions for replacing one or more teeth, but they have some key differences. The primary one is that a dental implant replaces the entire tooth – both the root and the crown – while a bridge only replaces the crown. Your unique oral health case and an experienced dentist will determine which option is best for you.
The Pros and Cons of Dental Implants vs. Bridges
Trying to learn more about an implant vs. bridge? Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of dental implants vs. bridges.
Dental Implants: Pros
There are many benefits to getting dental implants. Here are just a few.
- Dental implants are strong and natural-looking. With proper care, dental implants can last a lifetime. Because they’re placed directly into the jawbone, dental implants look and feel just like your natural teeth.
- Dental implants can improve your oral health. Unlike bridges, which rely on adjacent teeth for support, dental implants don’t put any additional stress on your other teeth, which can improve your oral health.
- Dental implants restore your biting and chewing ability. Dental implants are excellent for restoring your natural biting and chewing ability because they replace the entire tooth – root and all – rather than capping it off like a crown.
Dental Implants: Cons
Looking at those benefits, you might think, “Is an implant better than a bridge?” There are a few potential disadvantages to this option.
- Dental implants require surgery. Dental implants require minor surgery, and there’s a small risk of complications, like infection, bleeding, and nerve damage.
- Dental implants aren’t suitable for everyone. For dental implants to be successful, you need enough bone density in your jaw to support the implant. If you don’t have enough bone, you might need a bone graft before getting dental implants.
- Dental implants are more expensive than bridges. Dental implants are typically more expensive than bridges. However, they’re a lifetime investment, while bridges usually need to be replaced.
Dental Bridges: Pros
Now you’re probably thinking, “Okay, so can I get a bridge instead of an implant?” It could be an option – here are some of the many benefits of dental bridges.
- Dental bridges are less invasive than implants. Unlike dental implants, which require surgery, dental bridges can be placed without extensive surgery.
- Dental bridges can be placed in just a few short weeks. Dental implants require a healing period of several months, but your dentist can usually place dental bridges within just a few short weeks.
- Dental bridges are more cost-effective. Since dental bridges don’t require an invasive procedure, they cost less than a dental implant.
Dental Bridges: Cons
Implant or bridge: which is better? While dental bridges offer many advantages, there are also a few disadvantages.
- Dental bridges rely on adjacent teeth for support. Unlike dental implants, dental bridges rely on the surrounding teeth for support, putting additional stress on these teeth, which can lead to further damage.
- Dental bridges might not last as long as implants. Dental bridges usually need to be replaced every few years, while dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care.
- Dental bridges might not be suitable for everyone. For dental bridges to be successful, you must have healthy teeth on either side of the gap created by the missing tooth.
Are Dental Implants Better Than Bridges?
So, are dental implants better than bridges? In most cases, the best option is the treatment your dentist recommends based on your individual needs, health, and lifestyle. Dental implants and bridges have pros and cons, so discuss your options with your dentist before deciding which is better, an implant or a bridge.
If you live in Richmond, VA, and are unsure whether dental implants or bridges are right for you, it’s time to schedule a consultation at Northside Dental Co. Our team of dentists is committed to helping you achieve and maintain optimal oral health. As Richmond, Virginia’s premier dental provider, we offer a wide range of services, from preventative care to restorative and cosmetic dentistry.
We can’t wait to help you achieve your perfect smile! Book your appointment online today.