Dental Implants vs. Bridges
by Dr. Scott Bolding | Dec. 3, 2021
Dental implants vs bridges, which one is right for you?
If you have missing teeth, it’s important to get them replaced as soon as possible. Having gaps in your smile can affect your oral health and your confidence. There are several options available, including bridges and dental implants. Both bridges and implants serve a similar purpose. They restore your smile and keep your remaining teeth from shifting to fill in the gap.
Despite their similar purposes, there are major differences between dental implants and bridges. It’s important to understand how they’re different so you can make the right decision for your situation.
When comparing dental implants vs bridges it’s important to understand how each one works. This will help you make a better decision for your situation.
Dental implants are the only permanent solution to missing teeth. Getting dental implants involves screwing a titanium post into your jaw bone. This post acts like a replacement tooth root and fuses to your jaw bone. A crown is then attached to the implant.
The procedure for placing dental implants can be expensive and time-consuming because it involves inserting the implants into your jaw bone.
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Before placing the implants, we will examine your mouth to make sure you’re a good candidate for them. Implants need a certain level of bone density to make sure they stay in place. If yours is low, you will need a bone graft. The quality of your gums will also be evaluated.
Once your mouth is ready for implants, we will take several scans of your mouth using 3D imaging. These scans will help us develop a plan to make sure we place each implant with accuracy.
After the plan is set, we will place the implants using the YOMI robot. The YOMI robot knows where each implant should go, how deep the surgeon needs to drill, and the location of your nerves and sinuses. It then guides our surgeons as they place each implant. The robot doesn’t perform the surgery; the surgeon maintains control at all times. It simply allows us to be more precise so we can give you the smile you deserve.
Since dental implants need surgery, you will need to make time for your mouth to heal after surgery. While they heal, we can attach temporary crowns so you can leave the office with a full smile. Once your mouth has healed, we can place the permanent crowns.
Pros and Cons of Dental Implants
Both dental implants and bridges help you maintain your natural bite and restore your smile. But, there are several advantages that set implants apart. These advantages include:
- Jaw bone health support
- Working better for your oral health
One of the biggest differences between dental implants and bridges is that dental implants are the only permanent solution to missing teeth. Other options like bridges are not designed to last long-term the way implants are. Implants fuse to your jaw bone. And as long as you maintain good oral hygiene, you never have to worry about replacing them. Once they’re in your mouth, they’re there for good. Their longevity often makes up for the upfront costs and time-consuming procedure.
Another advantage of dental implants is that they help support the health of your jaw bone. When your teeth fall out, your jaw bone will begin to dissolve. Implants are fused to the bone and keep your jaw healthy. Most bridges can’t help your jaw because they sit above the gum line.
Bridges also put pressure on your other teeth, while dental implants are able to function on their own without the support of surrounding teeth.
While dental implants are a great option for replacing missing teeth, there are some disadvantages to consider. The biggest are the cost and time it takes to get dental implants.
Since they need a surgical procedure, implants cost more than bridges. You have to pay for the skills of the surgeon as well as things like anesthesia. Getting dental implants can also take more time compared to bridges. Depending on your situation, this procedure can take several months.
You will need to discuss these pros and cons with your dentist before making a decision. You may find that the advantages of dental implants are worth the time and money.
What Are Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges literally bridge the gap caused by a missing tooth. They are made up of two crowns on either side of the gap (known as abutments) and false teeth (pontics) that fill in the gap. The abutments are placed on top of your natural teeth to support the false teeth in the middle. The bridge is usually cemented in place.
Types of Bridges
There are several types of bridges for different situations. The types of dental bridges include:
Traditional fixed bridge: These are the most common type of bridge. They are usually made of two or more crowns and false teeth that are all connected. We use crowns as posts to hold everything together. Traditional bridges are typically made of metal, porcelain fused to metal, or ceramics.
Cantilever bridge: The pontic (false tooth) connects to only one crown. Cantilever bridges are a good option for people who have teeth on only one side of their missing teeth.
Maryland bridge: The best option if you are missing your front teeth, Maryland bridges are made of porcelain fused to metal or ceramic teeth supported by a framework. There are wings on each side of the bridge that connect to the remaining teeth.
Implant supported bridge: Although similar in design to a fixed bridge, implant supported bridges are supported by implants instead of surrounding teeth.
Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges
Like dental implants, bridges help restore your smile and improve your bite. They also help keep your teeth from shifting due to missing ones. There are several other advantages and disadvantages to choosing a bridge. You should discuss all these with your dentist before making a decision.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of dental bridges is the cost and time it takes to get them.
Unlike implants, bridges don’t need surgery. That makes them cheaper and less time-consuming. Getting bridges only takes about two appointments. During the first visit, we will prepare your teeth for the bridges. This usually involves shaving the enamel and dentin on the surrounding teeth to make room for the crowns. We will also take an impression of your teeth to send to the lab. You will get a temporary bridge while we wait for the permanent one. During the second appointment, we will make sure the bridge fits. Then you will leave the office with a brand new smile.
Because bridges are cheaper than dental implants, they are also more likely to be covered by insurance. Of course, coverage is not guaranteed, so you will need to check with your provider to make sure.
Even though bridges are cheaper upfront, they can end up costing more long-term. Unlike implants, bridges aren’t built to last. The cement can deteriorate, and the crowns can lose their natural look over time. You will usually need to replace them every 5-7 years. If you take care of them well, you may be able to make them last up to 10 years.
Another major disadvantage of dental bridges is that they can negatively affect your oral health.
When a tooth falls out or is extracted, the jaw bone begins to deteriorate. Because dental implants are surgically inserted into your jaw, they help support the health of your jaw bone. Bridges, on the other hand, sit above the gum line, which means they do nothing to prevent bone loss.
Bridges also require putting crowns on top of healthy teeth. This means we will have to shave down these supporting teeth, which makes them more susceptible to damage and disease. Bridges can also put a strain on your healthy teeth.
Dental Implants vs Bridges: Which One is Right for You?
Even though dental implants and bridges serve the same purpose, they are very different. Dental implants and bridges are both popular options, and each one has advantages and disadvantages.
Knowing which one is right for you depends on your specific situation and your needs. Some things to consider when making your decision include:
- Willingness to undergo surgery
- The longevity of each option
If you are younger, implants might be a better option since you don’t need to replace them as you age. The health of your mouth and jaw are also important factors. Implants require a strong jaw bone in order to make sure they last. If your jaw is already weakened and you’re not a candidate for a bone graft, your decision may already be made for you.
Dental Implants or Bridges
Whatever Your Decision, We Are Here to Help.
Even though dental implants and bridges are different they both serve the same purpose: helping you smile again.
Ultimately, you need to discuss everything with your oral surgeon. Our team can help you understand the differences between dental implants and bridges. We will guide you toward the choice that’s right for you. The goal through the whole process is to help you get the smile you deserve so you can get back to living your life comfortably.