Decoding A Dental Bridge and Dental Implant

If you are missing a tooth or multiple teeth, you’ve probably dreamed of a new smile. Unfortunately, tooth loss in adults can have various psychological effects such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and even cognitive impairment. But adults don’t always seek out options to replace their teeth, and sometimes it is simply because they don’t know if they should pursue a dental bridge or a dental implant. We’ve made it easy to understand the pros and cons of a dental bridge versus a dental implant. We know that knowledge is power, and we hope that this information will make it easier to determine the right solution for you.

Differences Between a Dental Bridge and Dental Implant

Let’s start by understanding the differences between a dental bridge and dental implant. Dental bridges are prosthetic teeth held in place by the remaining natural teeth on each side of the space. In most cases, bridges are made out of porcelain to match the natural color of your teeth. Dental bridges can replace one missing tooth or several missing teeth. They are an affordable and effective solution if you want to replace your missing teeth.

Pros of Dental Bridges

  • Often covered by insurance.
  • No bone grafting or invasive surgery required.
  • Lesser upfront costs than dental implants.
  • Only two visits to the dentist throughout a couple of weeks.

Cons of Dental Bridges

  • Must be replaced every five to ten years.
  • Less natural-looking with age.
  • More likely to develop tooth decay or cavities around them.
  • Can cause damage to surrounding healthy teeth.

On the other hand, dental implants are artificial tooth roots made from titanium (in most cases). Implants are mounted to your jawbone with screws and hold a crown or bridge in place. Dental implants are an involved restorative dentistry treatment. They do require a bit of time to heal between the surgical placement of the actual implant to the final placement of your permanent prosthetic tooth. However, these implants can last a lifetime and are the only restorative dental procedure that replicates a strong, healthy natural tooth.

Pros of Dental Implants

  • Can last 15 years and are one of the longest-lasting restorative dentistry options.
  • Retain a natural-looking appearance longer than dental bridges.
  • Do not cause damage to healthy, natural surrounding teeth.
  • Have a very high success rate for nonsmokers.

Cons of Dental Implants

  • Less likely to be covered by insurance.
  • Longer process required (up to six months, occasionally longer).
  • Higher up-front costs.
  • Some risk of surgical complications.

What You Should Know When Considering Dental Bridges vs. Dental Implants

Now that you know the fundamental differences between a dental bridge and a dental implant, let’s break down what you should consider when comparing the two.

Candidacy

Both dental implants and dental bridges have eligibility requirements determined during an initial treatment consultation with a dentist at Monroe Family Dentistry. As dental implantation needs to be performed after bone growth is complete, your dentist will take an X-ray or CT scan to evaluate bone density and quality. If you do not have enough bone structure to support an implant, then you might not be a candidate. Further, if you are a smoker or use tobacco products, you will need to quit as implant failure rates are far more common in smokers. Finally, those with diabetes, cancer, or periodontal disease may require additional treatments to qualify.

Health

As we alluded to earlier, you need to be in good health to get a dental bridge or  dental implant. To start, you should quit smoking and permanently refrain from the use of all tobacco products. Since dental implants require surgery, they are often not an option for those with medical conditions that can interfere with healing, like diabetes or leukemia. The best candidates for dental implants are generally healthy with a jawbone that can support the implant.

Appearance

Dental implants will look more natural than a dental bridge. As your smile is one of your most important physical traits, many patients prefer the look of dental implants. This said, a dental bridge is hardly noticeable aside from discoloration that can come from age.

Time

If you are looking for a quick fix, then a dental implant may not be the best treatment for you. Dental bridges can be completed in two visits to the dentist throughout a couple of weeks. However, dental implants can take up to six months (occasionally longer) and therefore have a much longer process.

Cost

A dental bridge has far fewer up-front costs than a dental implant, but they will need to be replaced more often. So if you are getting dental bridges when you are younger, you need to know that you might be repeating the process every five to ten years for the rest of your life—and there will be costs associated with that. Dental implants have higher up-front costs but are one of the longest-lasting tooth replacement procedures that you can do.

Benefits

When it comes down to it, you will reap a lot of benefits from either a dental bridge or a dental implant. However, the most significant advantage that you will experience from either treatment is the return of a bright and healthy-looking smile. Though there are plenty of things you can do to improve your smile, dental bridges and dental implants can make a world of difference.

Interested in a Dental Bridge or Dental Implants in Greenville, SC?

If you are ready to regain your smile and have been living with missing teeth, now is the time to request an appointment with Monroe Family Dentistry. Whether you are ready for dental bridge or a dental implant or just need a professional cleaning, our team is dedicated to the best in family and cosmetic dentistry. We’ll do everything we can to provide you with the information you need to choose between a dental bridge or dental implant. And we’ll make your dental treatment experience a great one.