Dental bridge vs implant, many patients who lost a tooth/teeth are faced with this decision. Often dentists recommend a dental implant to replace a missing tooth or teeth. However, both treatment options have advantages, disadvantages, and limitations. In some cases, a dental bridge is the better choice. In the past, the bridge was the only choice to replace a missing tooth or teeth. The dentist prepares the adjacent teeth by removing the most of tooth enamel. Then, he/she covers the adjacent teeth with crowns that are connected with a false tooth in between (pontic). Today, dentists use dental implants. First, the dentist anchors the implant in the jawbone. Then, he/she attaches a dental prosthesis to the implant. So, what is the difference between a dental bridge vs implant? Which treatment option is right for you?
Dental Bridge vs Implant
The Durability of Dental Bridge vs Implant
The dental bridge lasts between 7 to 10 years on average, depending on the oral hygiene, condition of abutment teeth, and other factors. The dental implant is more durable than the bridge. It lasts between 10 to 15 years on average, depending on the bone density and other factors. In many cases, the dental implant lasts more than 20 years.
The Aesthetics of Dental Bridge vs Implant
The jawbone is preserved through the force produced by chewing. After tooth extraction, bone loss occurs in the extraction site due to the lake of chewing force. About 25% of the bone is lost in the first year after tooth extraction. The dental bridge looks very natural. However, a gap may arise underneath the bridge due to the bone loss, causing an aesthetic problem. On the other hand, the implant performs the same function as the natural tooth root and preserves the jawbone. The dental implant provides the most aesthetic result.
Maintaining oral hygiene is easier with the dental implant. The bridge consists of 3 or more crowns that are connected together. These connected crowns make brushing and flossing more difficult. So, a special floss is needed to remove the food debris and plaque from underneath the bridge. Also, the implant requires excellent oral hygiene. However, you can brush and floss the implant just like a natural tooth because it is not connected to adjacent teeth.
The Procedure Duration of Dental Bridge vs Implant
The bridge procedure takes 3 visits to the dental office over a few weeks. The implant procedure requires multiple visits to the dental office over 3 – 6 months and if a bone graft is needed, the implant procedure may take a longer time.
Disadvantages of Dental Bridge vs Implant
In order to fabricate a dental bridge, the dentist prepares the adjacent healthy teeth by removing the most of tooth enamel to support the bridge. Also, a bone loss may occur under the bridge (in the missing tooth/teeth area) which may cause an aesthetic problem. In the case of a dental implant, there is no need to prepare adjacent teeth because the dental implant is anchored in the jawbone. However, dental implant surgery involves risks such as pain, bleeding, and nerve injury. Also, the dental implant is not suitable for everyone. It is contraindicated in patients with metabolic disorders, liver disease, kidney disease, and immunological diseases.
The Cost of Dental Bridge vs Implant
The cost of the dental implant is more expensive than the bridge. Also, if you have an insufficient bone, you may need a bone graft and this will increase the cost of the dental implant. The cost of a dental bridge or implant depends on many factors such as the number of missing teeth, the bridge material (porcelain or zirconia), the implant material (titanium or zirconia), the experience of your dentist, and where you live.
So, dental bridge vs implant? Consult your dentist to make the right choice. He/She knows your oral status and will help you choose the right treatment option.