What is better, dental implants or bridge?

Dental implants and a bridge are two of the most common and popular options to replace missing teeth. But how do you know which is better? Here’s what you need to know about each of these solutions so that you can make an informed decision about your treatment.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are an innovative new approach to a tooth replacement that is entirely freestanding and doesn’t rely on other natural teeth for support. This is because dental implants use titanium posts to act as the root of the tooth and secure it in place in the jaw. The implant requires surgery to place it, and once in position, a process called osseointegration takes place which is where bone grows around the post to permanently anchor it to the jaw. This takes several months but ensures that implants have the stability and durability for which they are best known. Once osseointegration is complete, a custom-created porcelain crown is used to restore the appearance, shape, and strength of the missing tooth.


Single or multiple?

Dental implants can be used to replace single or multiple missing teeth. In the case of an individual tooth, one implant post will be needed to support the crown. However, the implant technique can be used to support a bridge or even denture of artificial teeth on fewer than one implant post per tooth. In fact, a bridge can typically be supported on two implant posts, while an entire denture can be placed on as little as six. This makes implant-supported dentures a viable alternative to a standard bridge.


Benefits of dental implants

Dental implants offer a range of benefits over other tooth replacement solutions. Some of the most notable include:


  • Greater strength and stability

  • More natural in appearance than other solutions

  • They don’t put a strain on other teeth that put them at risk of damage

  • Implants protect your jawbone, stimulating and preserving natural bone growth

  • This, in turn, helps to preserve your facial structure

  • Implants are easy to clean and can be brushed and flossed just like regular teeth

  • With the right care, implants can last a lifetime with very little maintenance or effort


While there is a wide range of benefits, it is important to note that dental implants do require an invasive surgical procedure, the process does take time and it is generally more expensive than other types of restoration.

What is a dental bridge?

A dental bridge does what its name suggests – bridges the gap between one or more missing teeth. Unlike implants, bridges are supported by the natural teeth on either side of the gap. Each bridge usually has two crowns for the teeth on each part of the gap, and these anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth. Meanwhile, the false teeth that fill the gap are called pontics. Again, all crowns are custom designed and manufactured to ensure that they are a natural and comfortable fit.


Bridge types?

There are several different types of bridges, and your dentist will be able to tell you which one will best suit your needs. A traditional bridge is the most common and attaches to the natural teeth on either side of the gap as described above. A cantilever bridge is usually recommended when there are only adjacent teeth on one side of the gap, such as at the very back of the mouth. Meanwhile, a Maryland bonded bridge uses an additional framework to support the structure.


Benefits of a dental bridge

Some of the benefits associated with a dental bridge include the following:


  • There’s no need for an invasive surgical procedure

  • It is quicker and faster to get a conventional dental bridge – usually a few weeks at the most

  • Bridges are generally more affordable than implants


Nevertheless, patients should note that over time, bridges have been known to damage natural teeth and do require periodic replacement, with most bridges lasting between five and seven years before replacement is required.

Still not sure which is right for you? Speak to our expert dental team today for more advice and to schedule a consultation.

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