Dental Bridges vs. Dental Implants

Looking to replace multiple teeth? Implants and bridges are two of the main options for this kind of teeth replacement. Dental bridges vs. dental implants are a less permanent, but more affordable option. Making the right choice is imperative – so which will you choose?

Here at Southpointe, we want to inform you before you make any long-term dental decisions. For that reason, we’ve worked hard to keep our patients educated on their options. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact our office or schedule a free consultation, and we’ll be happy to help you. Read on below to learn more about dental bridges vs. dental implants.

What is a dental bridge?

The dental bridge consists of a set of three connected crowns. They’re used to bridge the gap created by missing teeth. The dentist prepares the two teeth adjacent to the gap for crowns. These teeth act as the support structure for the bridge. The third crown, called a “pontic tooth,” hovers over the space. As the gums heal, they will meet the pontic tooth, making it virtually impossible for others to see that they’re fake.

A primary disadvantage of the bridge is that it affects the teeth surrounding the space. It does so by putting pressure on them as a result of the support they provide to the pontic tooth. This often compromises the tooth structure of the adjacent teeth. Another disadvantage is the preparation needed to place a bridge. When the dentist prepares your tooth for a crown, they remove some of the protective enamel, making the tooth more susceptible to decay.

 

What is a dental implant?

implant-dentures

Dental implants are the most innovative tooth replacement option available today. An implant consists of a titanium screw which is placed into the jawbone. This screw replaces the tooth’s root. Once this screw, or post, is placed by an oral surgeon there’s a healing period. This period, known as osseointegration, allows the dental implant to properly integrate into your jaw bone. After osseointegration, the dentist places a crown over the top of the dental implant. The crown will give you a beautiful, flawless smile and allows you to chew normally again.

Dental Bridges vs. Dental Implants: Choosing Between Them

In some cases, the adjacent teeth of a bridge are cracked or decayed, thus requiring crowns. In this case, some patients will opt to do a bridge. However, a dental implant is almost always the best and most conservative option for tooth replacement. Another bonus to choosing an implant over a bridge is the support an implant gives your bone. When your jawbone has is supported by teeth roots or implants, the bone level remains high to support those structures. This isn’t true of a dental bridge.

When you lose a tooth, the bone naturally recedes over time. The result is a sunken face structure. When you have a dental bridge, the dentist replaces the tooth with a false tooth. This false tooth doesn’t support or preserve the bone. As a result, patients with a bridge will experience bone loss over time. On the other hand, an implant preserves the bone and maintains your normal facial structure.

Advantages of Dental Implants

Flipper

Dentures  (partial or full)

Bridge

Implants

Longevity 1-3 years 5-7 years 7-10 years Lifetime
Preservation of healthy adjacent teeth Yes Yes No Yes
Transmission of force to: adjacent teeth adj teeth/gums adjacent teeth bone
Prevent bone loss & preserve facial appearance No No No Yes
Requirement for periodic adjustments Yes Yes Yes No
Accelerated loss of adjacent teeth Yes Yes Yes No

Dental Bridges vs. Dental Implants: Who can benefit from dental implants?

To be a candidate for a dental implant, patients must have one or more missing teeth. The only real alternative to this is if patients have a tooth which will be removed at a later date. Due to the lack of longevity of dental bridges vs. dental implants, implants are the ideal solution.

In rare cases, a patient may not be eligible for an implant. If a tooth has been gone for an extended period, or if a patient has periodontal disease, they may not be eligible for implants. In these cases, the oral surgeon may need to perform a bone graft before placing the implant post. In a bone graft, a dental surgeon adds bone to the area where the implant will go. On other rare occasions, a patient may have a low-lying sinus. If that’s the case, the sinus innervates the space where the implant will be. This only occurs with upper teeth, and if this is the case, the oral surgeon will need to perform a sinus lift first.

 

Dental Bridges vs. Dental Implants: Implant-Supported Bridges

Another option when it comes to dental bridges vs. dental implants is the implant-supported bridge. If you have three or more missing teeth in one area of the mouth, you may also consider an implant-supported bridge. Some may not be able to have an implant placed for every missing space, so an implant-supported bridge is the next best option. Since there are not adjacent teeth to support the pontic tooth, two implants are placed instead. One tooth is placed in the middle to fill the remaining space. While some bone will still be lost where the third pontic tooth is, some bone is also retained where the implants are placed.

Experienced Dental Implant Care

Dental Bridges vs Dental Implants

Cosmetic dental expert Dr. Brad Alderman has extensive experience placing dental implants. Dr. Alderman has received advanced training and has over a decade of experience placing dental implants. This includes several continuing education classes about implants, and hundreds of implants restored.

If you elect to have implants done, Dr. Alderman will guide and co-manage your implant treatment throughout the process. He’ll be there for every step to help ensure excellent results. To achieve the best outcome, Dr. Alderman has partnered with local oral surgeon Dr.David Rallis. Together, the two have worked on several implant procedures throughout the years.

If you think you might be interested in dental implants, even if you aren’t sure, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can offer a free consultation, so you can ask all the questions you need without the pressure of moving forward with treatment.

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