Dental bridges and dental implants are both popular and effective ways to restore missing teeth. Sometimes your dentist will decide for you – not every person is a candidate for every dental treatment. Other times, it’s something you must consider and decide for yourself.
We’ve put together some information to help you understand the difference between both of these options.
Dental implants vs bridges: An overview
To understand how dental bridges differ from a dental implants, it’s important to understand natural teeth a little better. Teeth are made up of two components – the crown, which is the part that is visible in the mouth and the root, which sits in your jawbone beneath the gums.
Having a dental implant involves having a titanium post surgically placed into your jawbone. This will function as the tooth root. A crown, custom made for your implant from porcelain, is then placed on the titanium post – the implant – once the surgical site has healed.
Dental bridges sit on top of the teeth. They are made up of two crowns that cover the teeth on either side of your gap to anchor the false tooth in place. There is no surgery required.
Implants vs bridges: What is the process for each?
Because a dental implant requires surgery and sits in your jawbone, your jaw needs to be strong and healthy enough to support the implant. Your dentist will check this for you and may also advise if other procedures are required first.
For example, you can still get a dental implants if you don’t have a strong jaw but may need a bone graft first. If the implant is going into your upper row of teeth, sometimes a sinus lift operation is required first. Both require additional surgical procedures and healing time.
While the thought of multiple surgeries can be intimidating, it’s essential to know that each individual case is different. You may also be able to move straight to the first stage of the dental implant procedure.
Implants can take many months to insert. Even if you don’t need any additional procedures before having the dental implant placed in the jaw, your mouth and bones need to heal from the initial surgery. The next phase is to attach a connector to the dental implant and then finally fitting the crown.
Dentists can generally fit dental bridges in weeks, not months. In the first step, the teeth on which the bridge will rest are prepared and filed into shape. Then the impressions are taken for your bridge and the false tooth to be made. A temporary bridge may be fitted at this stage. There is no healing required between appointments. Once your prosthetics have been made and fitted, your treatment is complete.
Dental bridges offer a versatile and effective solution for those seeking to restore their smile and improve oral function after tooth loss. With advancements in dental technology, bridges provide a natural-looking and durable option for enhancing both aesthetics and overall oral health.
Dental Implants vs Bridges: Which should I choose?
Just as implants need a strong bone, dental bridges need the teeth on either side of your gap to be strong and healthy enough to support the bridge. Not all patients can choose between one treatment or the other.
The most important part of any dental procedure is booking an initial examination with your dentist so that any x-rays or other diagnostics can be done.
If you can choose between implants vs bridges, some of the benefits of dental implants include:
- A dental implant is the most realistic replacement tooth option. It feels almost exactly like a natural tooth and looks like one too.
- They can last a long time, on average more than 10-15 years *
- The implants don’t damage or impact the teeth around them.
Dental bridges are great for:
- Patients who want or need a less invasive option than potentially multiple surgeries.
- People looking for a lower upfront cost solution – bridges tend to be more affordable than a dental implant. It’s worth noting that while some people get considerably longer from their bridges, recommended replacement guidelines are every 5-7 years. Also, some patients don’t like that the bridges can lose their natural appearance as they age.
- A faster solution to filling the gap in your teeth. Bridges only need two appointments a few weeks apart, whereas implants require multiple appointments over a period of several months.
In addition to discussing your treatment options with your dentist, you can also check with your private health fund supplier what restorative treatment options your individual policy covers.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.