Dental Bridges Vs. Implants: Pros, Cons and Which is Better?

Table of Contents

If you’re struggling with a missing tooth, you’re not alone. Around 178 million Americans have at least one missing tooth that had been extracted.

There are many possible reasons for tooth loss, like dental cavities or gum disease.

Dental Bridges Vs. Implants

There are multiple options to get that missing tooth replaced.

These include bridges, dentures, and implants. So, let’s discuss which options are better for you and can offer you a life-long solution. 

Consequences of Ignoring Missing Teeth and Potential Solutions

When you’ve lost your tooth, the bone that supports the tooth no longer stays as it undergoes resorption.

During the first six months of tooth extraction, the jaw loses around 25% of the entire bone volume as it fails to get stimulus from the tooth root.

The nutrients contained within the bony tissues get reabsorbed back into the body, leading to the shrinkage of the overall tooth socket.

The consequences? The bone no longer stays healthy enough to hold a titanium screw of the dental implant.

In such scenarios, one may undergo a bone grafting procedure to build the bone at the site of the tooth or may opt for conventional dental bridges or partial denture tooth replacement options. 

Modern Vs. Conventional Tooth Replacement Options: Dental Bridges And Implants 

In 1965 the first dental implant was ever placed into a human jawbone.

Previously, patients used to rely on tooth-supported tooth replacement options, which include dental bridges and tooth-supported partial dentures.

However, bridges were still far from the ideal solution. 

So, instead of relying on other teeth and oral tissues to support a prosthesis, dental implants turned out to be a standalone tooth replacement solution. 

Dental Implant

Conventional dental bridges, on the other hand, involve trimming the adjacent teeth to support the missing tooth in between.

Sometimes, the teeth must be made dead (by carrying out a root canal procedure) to further move forward with bridge placement. 

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are titanium screws that go inside the jawbone to fill in the space created by a missing tooth.

Essentially, implants consist of a lightweight titanium screw, the metal connector, and the restoration. The bone that surrounds the implant will fuse with the titanium screw by a process called osseointegration.

Titanium is a biocompatible material that encourages fusion by enhancing cellular activity.

Once the implant gets completely fused inside the jaw bone, your dentist will give you an artificial tooth on it. This will restore the function and aesthetics while mimicking the natural tooth. 

The process takes 6 to 12 months to complete; however, the timeframe may vary from person to person.

For example, you might go through a bone grafting procedure to ensure there is enough bone to support the dental implant.

The newer bone may take 3-6 months to heal completely before a final prosthesis is provided.

Some patients with no teeth at all might need to go for all-on-4 implants, which take a longer time to finish. 

What are Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges are less invasive than implant-supported dental bridges, where the jaw bone is drilled to place a titanium implant.

Dental Bridges

Bridges are non-conservative, and unlike implants, they don’t replace the tooth root. Rather, a bridge takes the support of surrounding teeth to hold the crown that will fill the missing tooth space.

To make it possible, the dentist will prepare your adjacent teeth and trim them no matter how healthy the tooth is.

Although the process takes less time when compared with implants, these are destructive, and there’s no going back once you have opted for dental bridges.

Differences in costs between dental implants and bridges

Cost is majorly derived from decisions made by the patients.

Dental implants are costly dental treatment options and can range anywhere between $1000 to $3000 per titanium implant. However, a dental bridge can be placed in a range between $700 to $1500. 

The cost of dental implants can vary depending on the pre-operative procedures you might need to go before the placement, like bone grafting and sinus lift.

Apart from this, a lot of other variables can decide the cost of the treatment you want to go with.

These include the number of dental implants or the number of bridge units, the quality of material used, the location of the dentist, and the experience of the provider.

In such a scenario, dental insurance offers great help by letting you choose your favorite treatment option without worrying about the costs too much. 

Considering the longevity of dental implants and bridges

Dental Implants

Even after some fifty-five years, dental implants are a gold standard treatment option for missing teeth due to their unparalleled longevity, strength, and flexibility when compared to dental bridges. Here are the major differences between the two: 

Dental Implants Dental Bridges 
It can last a lifetime if cared for properly. It needs to be renewed every 5 to 10 years. 
It can restore near-to-full chewing capacity It can’t restore the near-to-full chewing capacity. 
It is a very conservative treatment option as it doesn’t damage the adjacent teeth. It is non-conservative as it seeks adjacent tooth preparation to support a bridge. 
It can support a single crown, multiple bridging teeth, and dentures. It can replace a maximum of two adjacent missing teeth. 
It is a costly solution. It is a cost-effective solution. 
Need a sufficient amount of bone quality The quality of bone is not a prerequisite. 
The dental anatomy has to be studied closely for its proximity to nerves and sinuses. Dental anatomy needs not to be studied closely,
The process can take longer, up to 12 months. The process can be completed within 3 months or less. 
It mimics the natural tooth in function. It can’t work like a natural tooth. 

Who wins the battle? 

Dental implant wins it for so many reasons, although it comes with the major downsides of cost and time. 

However, it remains a winner for the following reasons: 

  1. Looks natural:  Dental implants are a stand-alone tooth replacement solution, so they closely resemble a natural tooth in the oral cavity. It improves the overall quality of life by making patients feel good about themselves as they can now speak, talk, and eat with implants exactly how they used to do with their natural teeth. 
  2.  Prevents bone loss: It preserves the jaw bone as the titanium screw inside the jaw provides a continuous stimulus to the body upon mastication and day-to-day activities. 
  3. Durable in nature: Implants can last a lifetime if cared for properly. This makes them conservative and cost-effective when compared with dental bridges and partial dentures in the long run. 
  4. 95% success rate: According to the American Dental Association, implant treatments offer a 95% success rate which is twice that of dental bridges. 
  5. Easy maintenance: Implant-based restoration is easy as it’s just like cleaning a natural tooth,. Normal flossing, brushing, scaling, and polishing treatment twice a year will suffice. 
Related Articles:
Scroll to Top