Dental Implants vs Dental Bridges: Which Is Better for You?

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Replacing a lost tooth can be done in a number of ways. Two of the most common treatment options include dental implant and dental bridge. Before deciding between these two options, it’s important to understand the difference between them.

Dental implants are embedded in your jawbone, while dental bridges are held in place by your teeth. Which option is right for you depends on a variety of factors, including your budget and the status of your oral health.

Which one is the right choice for you? Here’s a look at the pros and cons of dental implants vs. dental bridges.

What Are Dental Implants?

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Dental implants are artificial substitutes for teeth. They’re usually made of titanium, a biocompatible metal that fuses with your jawbone to provide stable support for dental prosthetics. The implants can be used to support dental crowns, bridges, or dentures.

A dental implant is made of the following parts:

  • The implant is a small titanium metal post inserted into your jawbone, which acts as a replacement tooth root.
  • The abutments are small metal connectors used to attach the dental crown or bridge to the implant.
  • The dental prosthesis can be a crown, bridge, or denture placed on top of the implants.

There are four different types of dental implants. These are:

  • Single tooth implant: As the name suggests, a single tooth implant is used to replace a single missing tooth. Implants are placed in gaps left by missing teeth, and a dental crown is placed on top of each implant.
  • Implant-supported bridge: An implant-supported bridge is used to replace two or more missing adjacent teeth. The implants are placed in the gaps left by the missing teeth, and then a dental bridge is attached to the implants.
  • All-on-4 dental implants: All-on-4 dental implants are used to replace an entire arch of teeth (upper or lower). The implants are embedded in the jawbone, and then a dental prosthesis is attached to the implants.
  • 3-on-6 dental implants: A 3-on-6 dental implant is similar to an All-on-4 dental implant but uses three instead of four implants.

The placement of dental implants requires surgery, and the healing time can take several months. But once they’re in place, dental implants are very strong and durable. With proper dental care, they can last for many years or even a lifetime.

An alternative to dental implants is dental bridges. They serve the same purpose, prompting people to consider both options regarding tooth replacement.

When Are Dental Implants Better Than Dental Bridges?

If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may be wondering which one of the two – dental implants or dental bridges – is the treatment option suitable for you.

Both dental procedures can be an option for replacing missing teeth, but the advantages of dental implants, including improved appearance and better dental hygiene, outweighs that of dental bridges. In addition, dental implants have the following benefits.

  • Feels and looks more like natural teeth than dental bridges
  • More durable and long-lasting than dental bridges
  • Preserves the remaining natural teeth for they don’t require trimming of adjacent teeth
  • Easier to care for than dental bridges
  • Provides better jaw bone support
  • Resistant to tooth decay, unlike dental bridges

Overall, dental implants offer a number of advantages over dental bridges, making them the better choice for most people.

Dental Implants vs. Dental Bridges

While dental implants and dental bridges share some similarities, they also have their own unique pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of dental implants vs. dental bridges to help you decide which is the best option for you.
Pros of Dental Implants
  • They look, feel, and function like natural teeth.
  • They enable you to eat and speak normally.
  • They improve your oral health by preventing bone loss in the jawbone.
  • They provide stability for dental prosthetics.
  • They are longer lasting.
  • They are easy to take care of.
Cons of Dental Implants
  • The procedure requires oral surgery, an invasive procedure, which means there’s a risk of infection and other complications.
  • They require a significant investment of time and money, and some dental insurance providers do not cover them.
  • They require adequate bone density to ensure success.
  • It is not recommended for some patients. This includes people with diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
  • The dental implant process is not always successful, resulting in implant failure.
  • They may require additional procedures such as sinus lifts or bone grafts.
Pros of Dental Bridges
  • They can help restore one’s chewing function.
  • They can help improve your speech.
  • They can help maintain the shape of your face.
  • They can prevent your remaining teeth from shifting out of place.
  • They can be used in combination with dental implants for added stability.
  • They are less expensive than dental implants.
Cons of Dental Bridges
  • They rely on the support of the surrounding healthy teeth.
  • They can sometimes be difficult to keep clean, and food particles can become trapped between the bridge and the gum line. If not cleaned properly, this can lead to tooth decay or gum disease.
  • They put extra pressure on the adjacent teeth, which may lead to gum disease.
  • They may need to be replaced more frequently than dental implants.
  • They are not always comfortable, and they may make it difficult to floss and brush your teeth properly.

How to Choose Between Dental Implants and Dental Bridges

When choosing between dental implants and dental bridges, there are a few things to consider. These include:
Number of Missing Teeth
If you are only missing one or two teeth, a dental implant or a dental bridge are both good treatment options. However, if you are missing several teeth in a row, an implant-supported denture can provide better retention and functionality compared to dental bridges.
Health

How healthy is your jawbone? You’re likely a good candidate for dental implants if you have healthy bones and good oral hygiene. However, a bridge might be the better option if you have an insufficient bone.

Time

Dental implants require multiple surgeries, around 3-6 months from start to finish, and a longer recovery time. However, dental implants are much longer lasting than bridges so that they may be worth the longer treatment duration.

Aesthetics
Dental implants are probably the way to go if you’re looking for a more natural-looking, more attractive smile. On the other hand, dental bridges can sometimes look artificial, which can get in the way of a beautiful smile.
Functionality
Dental implants function just like natural teeth. You can eat and speak normally without having to worry about your teeth shifting or your prosthesis falling out. In contrast, bridges require some time to become accustomed to before speaking and eating comfortably.
Cost
How much are you willing to spend? Dental implants are typically more expensive compared to bridges, but they also last longer and provide a more natural look and feel.
Procedure
The procedure for getting dental implants is usually much more invasive than getting a bridge. It typically requires multiple surgeries and can take several months to complete.
Longevity
Dental implants can last 5-15 years, or even a lifetime, with proper care, while bridges usually need to be replaced every 7-10 years.
Activity Level
If you are an active person who participates in activities like contact sports, you may be better off with dental implants. Bridges can be damaged by impact and may need to be replaced more often.

Can a Dental Bridge Be Attached to an Implant?

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It is possible to attach a dental bridge to implants in order to improve the stability and support of the bridge. This type of bridge is known as an implant-supported bridge.

An implant-supported bridge is an excellent option for people who are missing multiple teeth in a row and do not want to wear a removable partial denture. It is also a good choice for people who have adequate bone support and are open to undergo dental implant surgery.

However, one of the major concerns of those who are still in the process of choosing between dental implants and dental bridges is the cost.

How Much Is a Dental Implant Compared to Dental Bridge?

The price of a dental implant varies depending on several factors, such as the type of implant, the location of the implant, and the dentist who performs the procedure. Similarly, the cost of a dental bridge also varies depending on several factors, such as the type of bridge, the location of the bridge, and the dentist who performs the procedure.

In general, however, dental implants tend to be more expensive than dental bridges. The cost of a dental implant can range from \$4,000 to \$6,000. A dental bridge can cost between $1,500 and $5,000.

When comparing prices between dental implants and dental bridges, it is important to consider the benefits of each dental treatment option. Dental implants are more expensive because they require surgical placement, use special metal screws and require special training to administer. Dental bridges are less expensive because they require more readily-available materials and are less technique-sensitive than dental implants.

Dental implants provide better benefits in the long run. But if the cost of treatment is a major consideration for you, then you may want to opt for a dental bridge instead of an implant.

Final Thoughts

So, what’s the verdict? Dental implants vs. dental bridges – which is better for you?

As with most things in life, the decision depends on your individual case. Dental implants are the way to go if you are looking for a longer-lasting solution that doesn’t require special maintenance. However, they are also more expensive and require a surgical procedure for placement.

Dental bridges, on the other hand, are less expensive and can be placed without surgery; however, they do not last as long as dental implants.

Ultimately, it’s important to consult with a dental professional to see what would be the best option for you. Comfort Care Dental would be happy to help you make that decision. You can book an appointment online or call our dental clinic at (08) 9349-0800 today!

Author

Dr. Karthik Lakkaraju

For Dr Karthik, dentistry is the complete package. He most enjoys the feeling he gets when he sees a patient achieve a beautiful smile, or can put an end to pain and increase the quality of life. He believes oral health is a mirror of general health and reflects the person’s personality and confidence.

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