If you have a natural tooth missing from injury or tooth extraction, your dentist may suggest a dental bridge or tooth implant to replace it. The main benefit of either tooth replacement option is making you comfortable and preventing further changes to your smile, increasing your confidence.
However, these two options are much more different than you may think. Knowing the difference between a dental bridge vs. implant dentistry is essential because they each serve a different purpose.
In this article, we’ll explain the differences between a dental bridge vs. tooth implant to help you decide on the best option for your tooth replacement.
Let’s start by defining what a dental bridge is.
A dental bridge is an artificial tooth that fills the gap made from a missing tooth and is held in place by the teeth around that missing tooth. A dental bridge is typically porcelain or plastic, blends into your mouth, and looks like your natural teeth.
As suggested by the name, the purpose of a dental bridge is typically to prevent your other teeth from shifting due to the gap caused by the missing tooth. A traditional dental bridge is robust, reliable, and cost-effective, making it an excellent choice for replacing missing teeth.
Next, we have dental implants.
A dental implant is similar to a dental bridge in that it is an artificial replacement tooth for a tooth extracted or fallen out. However, a dental implant involves a post inserted into your bone that seals itself into your gums.
The implant itself is composed of a titanium post and an artificial tooth connected with an abutment.
In contrast to a dental bridge that primarily prevents your other teeth from shifting, a dental implant is more meant to mimic your natural teeth beyond appearance.
Let’s discuss the difference between these two options.
There are several differences between dental bridges vs. tooth implants. Some of these key differences include:
- How simple the procedure is
- The success rate
- The amount of time that the procedure takes
- The appearance
- The cost of the procedure
Here are a few main differences between a dental bridge and tooth implants to help you decide which option is best for you.
The process of getting a dental bridge vs. implant differs, with one being significantly more complicated than the other.
Generally, a dental bridge can be installed in as little as two visits — an initial consultation, measurement, and installation.
In contrast, a dental implant requires multiple visits and several months or up to a year for the final product. The process starts with a consultation, and then your dentist gets to planning. You’ll typically have multiple appointments for fittings and measurements, whether you are getting a single tooth implant or implants for multiple teeth.
Finally, installing the implant itself may be two appointments – one appointment to drill the hole in your jaw, at which point the dentist may add a temporary crown implant, then an appointment to put in your real implant. There may be several months between these two appointments.
Dental bridges and tooth implants each have different lifespans.
Dental bridges last five to seven years before you need to replace them. If you take good care of your dental bridge, however, it can last up to 10 years. Nonetheless, the dental crown of a bridge will typically need to be replaced during your lifetime.
On the other hand, a dental implant can last a lifetime with proper care. Unlike natural teeth, they won’t decay, which minimizes the risk of infection, although the gums and surrounding teeth may still get infected.
That said, there are circumstances where you may need to replace the dental crown of your implant every five to ten years. But generally, the abutment will never need to be replaced as long as you maintain oral health.
Whether you choose a dental bridge vs. implant, it’s essential to get your teeth checked out regularly to ensure that everything continues to look good.
Although both dental bridges and implants blend in with your mouth and look like your natural teeth, a dental bridge tends to lose its natural look over time — typically after five years. If you want to keep up that natural-looking appearance, you’ll have to replace the crown frequently.
Dental implants keep their appearance longer than bridges, which maximizes the amount of time before you should replace the crown.
Finally, the cost is a significant factor in dental bridges vs. implants.
Due to the increased complexity of a dental implant, the upfront cost is typically higher than that of a dental bridge. However, considering the dental implant has better longevity than a bridge, you’re more likely to make up that cost throughout your lifespan with your implant.
A dental bridge and implant could significantly improve your comfort, smile, and teeth’s overall health. Each option is different, so choosing the one that works best for your teeth is essential.
The final decision of how to deal with tooth loss is yours. However, it’s essential to talk to a dental professional who can help you make the best decision for your needs. At You Make Me Smile, we can help you make that decision. Contact us today.