One of the most common dental implant and bridge problems is tooth loss. When that happens, the patient needs to replace the missing tooth to keep their arch aligned, maintain the shape of their face, and avoid trouble eating and communicating with others. 

dental implant and bridge

Both dental implant and dental bridge can be the replacement for a tooth. In fact, they are among the most common methods to treat tooth loss. If you are experiencing tooth loss and wondering whether a dental implant or bridge suits your needs better, let Sydney Dental answer your questions to help you in making the final decision.

Dental implant

1. What is the difference between an implant and a bridge?

1.1. Dental implants

A typical dental implant usually consists of:

  • A dental implant body, surgically placed in the jawbone to substitute for the tooth’s root.
  • A dental implant abutment, bonded to the implant body via the abutment fixation screw that goes across your gums into the mouth. 
  • An ceramic tooth, which is attached to the abutment on top, making the implant one whole functional piece.

In short, dental implants are artificial teeth bound to your jawbone using screws to hold a crown or bridge in place.

1.2. Dental bridge

Dental bridges are false teeth held by the teeth surrounding the lost tooth. They are usually made from materials like porcelain or plastic that are color-matching to your teeth. These bridges can cover one or a few missing teeth.

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of implants and bridges?

Although both implants and bridges can bring results that are natural-looking, they have their own pros and cons. The table below will show you how these two options compare.

The merits The demerits
Dental implants
  • Can last at least 15 years and are the most durable tooth restoration on the market;
  • The natural looks remains longer than that of bridges; 
  • Won’t do harm to the surrounding healthy teeth;
  • Treatment time may stretch for up to 6 months;
  • Greater fees;
  • Risk of surgical complications.
Dental bridges
  • No need of bone grafting or invasive surgery;
  • Typically lower fees than dental implants;
  • Requires only two visits to the dentist that spread over a few weeks.
  • Requires a replacement after 5 to 7 years (some may last for more than 10 years);
  • The natural looks fade with age;
  • Greater risk of cavities and tooth decay in adjacent teeth than that of dental implants;
  • Can damage the healthy teeth around the missing tooth.

3. Implant vs. bridge cost

Dental bridges are generally less costly than implants. The prices may vary depending on:

  • the specific kind of implant or bridge you are getting;
  • the material to be used;
  • the complexity of the treatment;
  • your geographical location.

In spite of the higher costs, dental implants are more durable than bridges and don’t need a replacement as often.

dental implant and bridge
dental implant and bridge

4. What happens during a dental implant and a dental bridge?

4.1. For an implant procedure

During the a dental implant surgery, the dental specialist will:

  • Put you under anesthesia. They will calculate the right dose of local anesthesia to numb your gums up. If you want to be sedated, meaning you’ll fall asleep during the procedure, the provider may accommodate that request as well;
  • Make a cut in your gums. As soon as you feel comfortable with the help of the numbing medication, the professional will create an incision in your gums to give space for the upcoming dental implant. This will reveal the bone underneath for the implant to be located;
  • Prepare the jaw. Your dentist will use specialized tools to make a hole in your jawbone. They’ll expand the it until it is of the exact diameter for your the implant;
  • Position the implant. The provider will place the dental implant into your jaw with extra care;
  • Seal the cuts. Finally, your dentist will reposition the gums and stitch the incision shut.

The procedure of dental implant is usually the same for every patient. That said, in some cases, the dentist may place a dental implant and restoration, like a dental crown or bridge at the same appointment. Usually you will need to wait a couple of months for the implant to fully heal prior to the final restoration for safety purposes. The dental provider can create a temporary, often detachable, restoration for the patient to use throughout the healing time.

4.2. As for bridges

The abutment teeth will be prepared at the initial visit. This includes reshaping the affected tooth by taking off a small part of the enamel to make room for a crown to be attached.

Next step is taking impressions of your teeth as a model for the bridge and crowns to be made in the lab. The dental provider will generate a temporary bridge for you to use for protection of the exposed teeth and gums while the bridge is in creation.

At the second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary bridge and check the new metal or porcelain bridge and make adjustments if needed so the bridge can fit well  to your teeth. You may need to come back to the clinic a few more times to check the fit and your new bite, which depends on your particular case. If you opt for a fixed bridge, the dental provider will cement it temporarily for a few weeks to guarantee a nice fit. After that, the bridge will be fixed into place.

5. What to choose: a dental implant or bridge?

Consult your dentist to know the best tooth restorative method for your conditions. The best option for you is dependent on your budget, number of missing teeth, and overall wellness. Take a look at the factors below to have a better idea about what you need to consider when choosing between these two types of treatment.

  • The cost

A dental bridge can be cheaper than an implant. If after looking at the price estimate and both choices are not affordable for you, you can talk to a dentist about partial dentures or other alternatives.

  •  The number of tooth lost

If you’ve lost two or more teeth that are next to each other, a bridge can be better for you than an implant. With an implant surgery, each missing tooth requires a separate implant that is attached directly to the jawbone, which makes the procedure not only impractical but also costly.

  • Your health conditions

Dental implants are a surgical procedure, and thereby, not suitable for those suffering from diseases that slow down the healing process like diabetes or leukemia.

People who are in good health with a healthy jawbone that can hold the dental implant are a good candidate for this procedure.

  • The time in your hand

The entire dental implant treatment can take you months while you can get a dental bridge done in a few weeks after typically 2 dental visits.

As for an implant surgery, the dentist makes a hole in your jawbone to attach the implant through the tooth root. They may make you wear a temporary denture in the waiting time when your bone starts to heal. Then it requires 2 to 6 months before adding a crown.

6. Restorative alternatives to dental implants and bridges

dental implant and bridge
dental implant and bridge

Although they are frequently chosen, implants and bridges are not the only methods of restoring a missing tooth. Other options include partial dentures and space maintainers.

  • Partial dentures

These are usually made of metal or plastic. Partial dentures fill the gaps caused by one or some lost teeth.

Partial dentures are typically similar to your teeth and attach to the remaining teeth to remain in place. This method is usually recommended by the dentist if the teeth adjacent to the lost tooth are not strong enough to hold a bridge.

One pro of partial dentures is they are more affordable than implants and bridges. However, the downside is that they are typically not as comfy and reliable. These dentures may also cause trouble eating and communicating and require everyday cleaning.

  • Space maintainers

These maintainers are a good choice in case that you are not financially able to have your tooth replaced in a short time. Space maintainers are made from metal pieces with the role of keeping the remaining teeth on both sides of your lost tooth from moving out of place.

Such maintainers also benefit children in allowing their teeth to grow fully without any obstruction.

An orthodontic retainer can also be of help to manage the space left by lost teeth and avoid shifting of the other teeth around.

7. A word from Sydney Dental – your trusted provider

If you’re healthy with a good budget, dental implants may outweigh bridges as they are more durable and won’t do any harm to your remaining teeth. However, always consult a dentist before making up your mind.

Hopefully we have successfully compared dental implants and dental bridges for you. If you would like to find out more about either of the two options and your candidacy, do not hesitate to reach us Sydney Dental. We are at 499-501 Ba Hat St, Ward 8, District 10, HCMC looking forward to your visit all along. You may also call us at (028) 3504 9440 for a free no-obligation comprehensive consultation. Your pretty, shiny smile is 100% guaranteed at Sydney Dental!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *