Losing teeth has a significant impact on the appearance of your smile and your self-confidence. Two of the best solutions to address this issue are dental bridges and dental implants. While both fundamentally address the same problem, they are different in terms of functionality. Therefore, you must understand the advantages and disadvantages of each before making a final decision. The following information will discuss dental bridges vs. implants to help determine which are better for you.
Are you missing one or more teeth and looking for the best solution? Let’s take a look at your options and the advantages of each.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is made up of one or more false teeth, also called pontics, that are set between two abutment crowns. The crowns can be attached to dental implants or natural teeth if they’re healthy. Dental bridges are usually made of porcelain fused to metal or ceramic.
When is a dental bridge the best option?
While dental bridges aren’t always the best option, they do have their advantages.
- Results are achieved faster. Dental implants usually require anywhere from three to six months or longer to be put into place, whereas dental bridges can be built and placed within two or three weeks. This makes them the more convenient option if you’re looking to restore your smile quicker.
- Bridges are more affordable and often covered by insurance. Perhaps the most significant advantage is that bridges are less expensive than implants. And it’s important to note that implants are rarely ever covered by dental insurance, where bridges are usually at least partially covered.
- Bridges require a less invasive procedure. Dental bridges do not require incisions in your jaw bone or gums, unlike implants.
What is a dental implant?
Dental implants are titanium posts topped with dental crowns. After implants are put into place, the post fuses with the surrounding tissue in the jaw bone via a process known as osseointegration. Once this process is complete and the implant integrates into the patient’s jaw bone, the crown can be attached using a small metal instrument called an abutment.
When is a dental implant the best option?
While bridges have advantages in certain situations, dental implants also offer their own unique advantages, which are:
- Longevity. Dental implants can easily last over thirty years with proper care and placement, which is much longer than dental bridges. So, while a bridge may be cheaper initially, they do cost you more in the long run if they ever require replacement.
- Implants look and feel real. Bridges are much bulkier than implants. After undergoing the two-part implant and restoration process, the result looks and feels like a natural tooth.
- There’s no need to trim other teeth. Dental bridges require two of your healthy teeth to be cut to make room for the “abutment crowns” containing the false teeth. Implants do not need your natural teeth to be trimmed.
Dental Bridges vs Implants – What’s Best For Me?
So, how do you choose between a dental bridge or dental implants? The choice usually comes down to your budget, overall health, and how many teeth are missing. Your best option is to discuss it with your dentist, as they can advise which is best for your needs. Before speaking with your dentist, here are some helpful things to know:
As we mentioned, dental insurance is more likely to cover the cost of a bridge than an implant. If both options are out of your price range because you have no insurance, check with your dental professional about other options, such as partial dentures.
Are you missing more than one tooth in a row? If so, dental bridges are usually a better option because you would need a new implant surgically attached to your jawbone for every missing tooth. Therefore, implants are typically expensive and impractical if too many teeth are missing.
Dental implants are completed via surgery, so they are not always an option for those suffering from certain diseases like leukemia or diabetes due to slow healing times. However, if you are in good overall health and have a jawbone that’s free of decay, then you’re an excellent implant candidate.
The process of getting dental implants from start to finish can take a few months, where bridges can be installed within a few weeks. Also, keep in mind that the oral surgeon drills into your jawbone during dental implant surgery and attaches the titanium implant to the bone. They may place a temporary denture in place while the bone heals, which can take from two to six months.
The Bottom Line
If you are missing one or more teeth, then dental bridges and implants are two of your best options. While both have pros and cons, either option is better than missing teeth! Contact your dental professional today and schedule an appointment to discuss these options in more detail.