Missing teeth can have a significant negative impact on your quality of life. When your smile is incomplete, it compromises your appearance, health, and function. Thankfully, there are numerous solutions for teeth replacement available in dentistry today. Two of the most commonly compared options are dental implants vs dental bridges. At our practice in Miami, FL, Dr. Todd B. Barsky offers both. But which should you choose?
Making decisions regarding dental treatment can be overwhelming. Here, we will discuss dental implants vs dental bridges so you can feel confident in your decision.
A dental implant is a threaded titanium post that is surgically and strategically inserted into the jawbone. Implants serve many uses, and can replace a single tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch. They can be restored with crowns, bridges, or even implant-supported dentures, depending on the specific need. Because implants mimic natural teeth roots, they stimulate the jawbone and prevent bone degeneration, which is a common byproduct of tooth loss.
A dental bridge can be used to replace a single tooth or a row of missing teeth. Crafted from medical-grade materials, a bridge is a single unit restoration comprised of artificial teeth (pontics) and two dental crowns. In order to place the bridge, the natural teeth on either side of the gap must be slightly reduced so they can serve as anchors for your new restoration. Once the teeth have been prepared, the crowns are cemented into place, and the pontics literally “bridge the gap” in your smile.
Illustration of Tooth Gap Bridged with Implants
Similarities in Dental Implants vs Dental Bridges
There are several similarities between dental implants and dental bridges.
Both options can:
- Replace missing teeth
- Provide an aesthetically-pleasing outcome
- Restore proper function for chewing, eating, and speaking
- Prevent your other teeth from shifting
The Differences in Dental Implants vs Dental Bridges
Although there are similarities between implants and bridges, there are also significant differences.
- Require the reduction of healthy teeth
- Typically need to be replaced approximately every 10 to 15 years
- Do not support jaw health
- Require special tools to floss underneath them
- Can be placed in one to two visits
- Are non-invasive
- Leave healthy tooth structure intact
- Last a lifetime with proper care
- Preserve jawbone structure and prevent further bone loss
- Can be brushed and flossed just like your natural teeth
- May require multiple appointments and several weeks of healing
- Require oral surgery
Benefits of Dental Implants
Many patients find that implants are the most predictable, durable, and long-lasting teeth replacement option. By restoring health, function, and aesthetics, dental implants are an investment in your future oral health. Though the upfront cost may be higher than a dental bridge, implants can save you money, stress, and worry in the long run.