The Differences between Dental Implants and Bridges

A few decades ago, dental implants were seen as a treatment of privilege that only  wealthy and famous people could afford. Now, after many advancements in dental technology, implants have become more affordable than ever before, raising questions from patients about whether they should leave traditional procedures such as bridges behind.

If you are in a position of choosing between a dental bridge or a dental implant to restore your smile, comparing the two procedures with you dental provider can help lead you in the right direction for your treatment.

Placing a Bridges
To place a bridge, the healthy teeth, or abutment teeth, on either side of the open socket are drilled down to be used as anchors for the bridge. The bridge itself is bonded resin, metal, or porcelain with a crown capping each abutment tooth and a false tooth floating in the middle. Bridges can be an appropriate procedure for patients who may have fillings on either abutment tooth that will eventually need replacement with a crown.

Placing Dental Implants
Dental implants are composed of three parts: the implant, the abutment, and the crown. The implant is a titanium post surgically inserted into the bone of the open space. The post eventually fuses to the bone for ultimate durability and without harming existing surrounding teeth. The abutment is screwed into the implant as an anchor for the porcelain crown, which finalizes the procedure.

Natural Appearance
With dental bridges, patients can experience dark lines underneath the false tooth due to gum recession. This can lead to feelings of self-consciousness about their teeth and fear that others will be able to notice the unnatural appearance of the bridge. Dental implants are firmly and surgically placed, allowing for no movement or gaps between the crown and the gums. The crown is matched as close as possible to the previous tooth lost and colored to blend with existing teeth. The result is an aesthetically pleasing smile few people will be able to tell has been restored.

Level of Durability
The process of surgically placing a dental implant provides a high rate of durability comparable to the natural root of a tooth. Once the implant fuses to the jawbone, it can provide solid, long term support for the crown. In comparison, dental bridges are supported only by crowns bonded to ground down teeth. There is no support in the middle where the false tooth is leaving this procedure susceptible to damages and cracking. Bridges last an average of 5 to 10-years, provided patients follow all dental recommendations for diet and oral care.

Daily Hygiene Requirements
Patients with bridges will find they must practice meticulous daily oral hygiene routines to decrease the chance of decay or disease around the bridge. Flossing and brushing all areas around the bridge can be difficult, and gaps between the false tooth and the gum may cause issues of hidden food and plaque in the future. Dental implants are placed securely and without gapping, allowing for you to brush, floss, and rinse as you would with natural teeth.

Cost of Procedures
The cost comparison of each procedure can be tricky. Initially, dental bridges are going to cost less than dental implants. However, patients should keep in mind that bridges may not last as long and could require adjustments or repairs before the eventual replacement, all adding to the overall cost. Dental implants can last decades if properly placed and cared for and often prove to be the better long term investment down the road. Dental insurance companies are now providing more support for dental implants than ever before, allowing for dental implant patients to save on final costs of their treatment.

Knowing which procedure is the best option for you can be tricky, but luckily your dental provider is here to help. Make an appointment today to discuss which option is the best in achieving your goal of a beautifully restored smile.

Contact Baer Dental today to start your dental implant consultation. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity through award winning dentistry.

Wanting to learn more about implants? Read here about whether they are right for you!