Tooth Implant Or Bridge, Which Is Better?

Dec 14, 2023
Tooth implant or bridge?
If you’re looking to replace a missing front tooth your best options are a tooth implant or a bridge, but which is better? This article delves into the pros and cons of both treatments to help you make an informed decision.

Tooth implant or bridge, which is better? If you’re missing a tooth these are two popular restorative issues. But which should you choose? This article discusses the pros and cons of both, to help you make an informed decision.

Why replace a missing tooth?

Missing a tooth may not seem like a big deal, and indeed, around 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. However, you should know that missing a tooth is much more than a cosmetic problem.

Losing a tooth, especially one that's front and center, can impact your daily life and confidence. Simple things like eating become a hassle, and you might find yourself holding back on smiling or socializing.

Apart from the obvious esthetic and psychological impact, leaving a gap can lead to other issues. Nearby teeth might start moving into the space, or those on the opposite jaw might grow into it, messing up your bite and causing more problems. Plus, over time, missing teeth can result in bone loss and give your face a sunken appearance.

Now that you've decided to replace the tooth, the big question is: Tooth implant or bridge, which is better?

Some people aren't too keen on the idea of a removable partial denture and prefer a fixed solution like a bridge or a dental implant. Let’s give you more information about both treatments to help you choose for yourself.

All you need to know about a bridge

As the name suggests, a dental bridge spans the gap in your smile created by one or more missing teeth.

A traditional bridge consists of two crowns flanking the gap, referred to as the 'abutment teeth,' with a false tooth positioned in the gap known as a 'pontic.' This method is typically favored due to its superior strength compared to alternative options and is commonly employed as a long-term solution for addressing missing teeth.

The bridge, which may be fabricated from ceramic, porcelain, zirconia or metal remains fixed in the mouth, so, unlike a denture, there’s no need to remove it.

A traditional bridge has several benefits, namely:

  • Provides a natural appearance
  • Time-efficient: completion requires only two dental visits
  • Cost-effective and more affordable than dental implants
  • Exhibits durability, lasting more than 10 years with proper oral hygiene
  • Offers stability with a fixed structure
  • Involves a shorter recovery period compared to implants

So those are the benefits of a dental bridge, but you also need to know the downsides, which include the following:

  • The preparation of adjacent teeth to support a bridge involves filing down and can be detrimental to otherwise healthy teeth.
  • Once teeth are prepared for a bridge, there is no reversal; they will always need to be covered with a crown.
  • Abutment teeth must be healthy and free from large restorations, decay, or mobility.
  • There is a potential risk of nerve damage during tooth preparation for a crown or bridge, leading to potential future root canal treatment.
  • Cleaning a bridge poses challenges due to plaque accumulation, as the rigid connection of the fake tooth to adjacent teeth gets in the way of conventional flossing. Special attention is required to maintain cleanliness, particularly underneath the bridge.

Now, let’s look at the pros and cons of dental implants.

About dental implants

Dental implants consist of titanium roots and porcelain crowns, offering a substitute for missing teeth. The biocompatible nature of titanium facilitates bonding with the upper or lower jaw bone, acting as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth. Extensive research spanning decades attests that dental implants stand as the most enduring, aesthetically natural, and functionally superior alternative to natural teeth. The prime advantage of a tooth implant vs a dental bridge is that it is a standalone treatment that doesn’t rely on other teeth for support.

Advantages of dental implants

  • Preservation of healthy tooth substance is achieved since there is no need to modify neighboring teeth.
  • Dental implants provide a natural look and feel, resembling original teeth.
  • Enjoy the freedom to eat what you want without restrictions.
  • Long-term results are possible, lasting a patient’s lifetime with proper care.
  • Implants stimulate jaw bone health, preventing bone resorption.
  • Achieve a more youthful appearance.
  • Caring for dental implants is the same as for natural teeth with brushing, flossing and regular dental hygiene visits.

Disadvantages of dental implants

  • Involves higher costs compared to bridge work.
  • A more invasive procedure since it includes surgical procedures.
  • Tooth implants can take up to six months or longer to complete.
  • May necessitate additional procedures, such as bone grafting, if there is insufficient bone for proper implant placement.

Tooth Implant Or Bridge, Which Is Better?

While this article provides a thorough list of pros and cons for both tooth implant and bridge options, comparing them without professional guidance can be challenging due to the unique nature of each patient's case.

The initial step involves consulting with a prosthodontist or implant dentist. They will assess your circumstances, utilizing 3D imaging to evaluate available bone and determine the most suitable option for your needs. A personalized treatment plan will be crafted, outlining costs and procedures upfront. Subsequently, you can liaise with your health insurance about coverage. The restoration of your ability to laugh, eat, and smile with confidence can be a transformative experience.

To schedule a free implant consultation with our experienced dentist, please contact Chesterfield Dentistry at 314-936-3621 or use our online booking system.