A dental bridge or a dental implant can replace a missing tooth. What’s the difference? And how can you decide which option to choose?
A dental bridge replaces one or more missing teeth. It’s made by connecting a series of crowns in a row. The replacement tooth is suspended in the middle. And the crown on either end is placed over a natural tooth as anchors for the bridge.
A dental implant is a titanium screw—or artificial tooth root—embedded in your jawbone where a tooth is missing. A dental crown restores the portion of your tooth above the gumline.
How Does a Dental Bridge Compare with an Implant?
- Dentists are trained in dental school to provide dental bridges—they don’t require any specialized post-graduate training.
- Each anchor tooth in the bridge must be filed down for a crown to fit over it.
- You can receive it in two appointments, but there is a wait before your second appointment, while a lab makes the bridge.
- Without a tooth root to stimulate your jawbone, the bone will shrink somewhat in the position of the missing tooth.
- It’s not as comfortable as an implant, and food can get trapped beneath it.
- It takes longer to keep it clean. You’ll floss around and beneath it.
- It puts stress on the teeth that are anchors for the bridge.
- A dental bridge lasts an average of ten years.
- If anything goes wrong with any of the teeth involved in the bridge, the entire bridge will need to be replaced.
- It’s slightly less expensive than a dental implant.
- Dentists need advanced training to place implants.
- No work is required on adjacent teeth to receive an implant.
- Placing it in your jawbone requires minor surgery. You’ll receive a permanent crown after several months of healing.
- The artificial tooth root stimulates the jawbone and prevents shrinkage.
- It’s surgically implanted, so it feels and functions like a natural tooth.
- It’s easy to clean. Brush and floss it as you do your natural teeth.
- If your implant is placed correctly, your adjacent tooth won’t be affected by it.
- A dental implant lasts an average of 20-25 years.
- It’s the most expensive form of tooth replacement.
- Multiple teeth in a row can be replaced with dental implants. A long bridge replacing multiple teeth puts a lot of stress on the abutment teeth.
How to Care for a Dental Bridge
You must be diligent with oral hygiene to prevent food from getting trapped beneath the bridge and producing bacteria that will infect your teeth and gums. Decayed teeth will weaken the bridge.
How to Care for a Dental Implant
Treat it like a natural tooth. Daily floss between your teeth and brush them twice daily. Avoid using the implant—and your natural teeth—to bite or open hard or sharp objects.
Dr. Thomas has advanced training in tooth replacement and restoration. He will explain your options and the results you can expect with a dental bridge vs. an implant. Regardless of the option you choose, Dr. Thomas will ensure you receive stable, natural-looking results. Call us to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online.