Dental Bridges VS Implants: What Should You Say to Your Patients?

white dental implant on black prop teeth

Dental bridges and implants offer advantages for different types of dental needs, and it is essential to understand the differences between them so you can suggest the best approach for your patients.

Bridges are more cost-effective and retain natural teeth, while implants are more cosmetically appealing, durable, and offer improved chewing ability. Ultimately, the decision will depend on individual needs and budget.

In this article, we’ll cover the dental bridge vs implants topic so you can explain their differences, advantages, and disadvantages to your patients. This way, you’ll help them make a well-informed decision.

Dental Bridges: an Overview

A dental bridge is a dental restoration used to replace one or more missing teeth. A bridge comprises two crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap, with a false tooth or teeth in between.

The false teeth, called pontics, are usually made from porcelain, gold, or a combination of both. The bridge is secured to the adjacent teeth, called abutment teeth, and it is then permanently cemented. 

Learn more about Keating’s Full Cast Gold Crowns & Bridges.

The primary benefit of dental bridges is the improvement they can make to an individual’s appearance and self-confidence.

Dental bridges can also help to preserve the integrity of the teeth surrounding the gap and prevent the remaining teeth from shifting out of position. This can improve an individual’s bite and make it easier to chew and speak. 

Read more: What is a Dental Implant Bridge, and When the Patient May Need One?

Dental bridges can replace anything from one single tooth to multiple missing teeth. The false tooth in the bridge may be attached to a metal framework or held in place by the adjoining crowns, which are bonded to the abutment teeth. 

Learn more about Keating’s Bridges and Crowns.

The disadvantages of dental bridges

Dental bridges are a popular solution for replacing missing teeth due to their relatively low cost and ease of installation. However, they also have some drawbacks when compared to dental implants. 

First, implants may be more durable than bridges. They can be susceptible to bacteria buildup, leading to decay over time, and their lifespan is typically shorter than that of implants. 

Second, bridges require the surrounding teeth to be altered to secure the bridge in place. This means that the abutment teeth must be filed down and covered by crowns, which can weaken them in the long run. 

Finally, bridges can fail due to a lack of proper support from the surrounding teeth. This can cause the bridge to become loose and eventually fall out. In contrast, dental implants are secured directly to the jawbone and are less likely to come loose.

In conclusion, while dental bridges can be a viable solution for replacing missing teeth, there may be better options for those looking for a longer-lasting and more secure replacement. For these individuals, a dental implant may be the better choice.

Discover more about Keating’s bridges and crown services below:

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a prosthetic device surgically implanted into the jawbone to replace a missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. The implant comprises a titanium post and a false tooth, either a crown, bridge, or denture, attached to the post.

The entire prosthetic is secured to the jawbone through a process known as osseointegration, wherein the titanium post fuses with the surrounding bone and tissue. 

Dental implants are highly durable and long-lasting. They can provide an improved chewing ability and aesthetically pleasing appearance for those looking for a more permanent solution for replacing missing teeth.

Discover Keating’s portfolio of implant-related services:

Advantages of dental implants over bridges

The primary advantages of dental implants compared to dental bridges are that they are more durable and long-lasting and look and feel more natural.

Dental implants are also less likely to come loose and are secured directly to the jawbone, so they do not rely on the support of the surrounding teeth.

Dental implants do not require any alterations to the adjacent teeth, meaning that the abutment teeth remain intact and strong. 

Finally, dental implants can help to preserve bone structure in the jaw and can even stimulate bone growth in the area where the implant is located. This helps to maintain facial structure and prevent premature aging.

Disadvantages of implants

The primary disadvantage of dental implants compared to dental bridges is cost.

Dental implants are more expensive than dental bridges and may not be covered by insurance. Additionally, the placement of dental implants is a surgical procedure, and as such, it carries with it some risk of complications. 

Furthermore, due to the extensive process associated with dental implants, it can take several months before the entire prosthetic is fully installed.

During this time, patients may have to use a temporary restoration, such as a denture, while they wait for the implant to heal and integrate with the surrounding jawbone.

Final thoughts: Each Case is Different

In conclusion, dental bridges and implants are viable solutions for replacing missing teeth and restoring one's smile.

Dental bridges tend to be more affordable, providing a fast and effective solution for replacing a single tooth or multiple teeth in a row. However, they may provide a different level of durability and security than dental implants, which can last for a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. 

Ultimately, the best option for an individual will depend on their unique situation and budget. It is essential to talk to your patients to help them determine which option is right for them.