Dental implants and dental bridges are two kinds of prosthetics for replacing missing teeth.
In brief, implants attach to the jawbone, while bridges anchor to the surrounding teeth.
If you have missing teeth, figuring out the differences between these tooth replacement options can be challenging.
This article explains each prosthetic in detail and their respective benefits and drawbacks.
Dental bridges are tooth replacement prosthetics that attach other teeth, usually adjacent to the missing tooth. Dentists use them to close gaps in your smile and improve your bite.
There are several types of dental bridges available.
Traditional dental bridges cement missing crowns onto the adjacent abutment teeth (anchor teeth).
Cantilever dental bridges are similar, except the crown is held in place on a single abutment tooth – useful for replacing molars at the rear of the mouth.
Finally, Maryland dental bridges attach to two abutment teeth, like traditional bridges, but use metal clasps that hook around the back of the adjacent teeth to secure the crown in place, instead of dental cement.
Benefits Of Dental Bridges
- No surgery is required. The installation of non-implant supported dental bridges does not puncture the gum
- Fully restore the appearance of natural teeth
- Tends to cost less than implants
- Treatment can take as little as two weeks from start to finish
Drawbacks Of Dental Bridges
- Bridges require replacement around once every seven years
- Gaps between the bridge and the gum can lead to oral hygiene issues
- Dentists may need to make alterations to the abutment teeth
- Some people consider dental bridges less attractive than implants
Dental implants replace both the tooth’s crown (the part that sits above the gum-line) and the root with synthetic alternatives.
Placing dental implants involves inserting posts into the jawbone, waiting for them to fuse with the bone, and then fitting a crown on top.
Implants’ purpose is to mimic the performance, aesthetics, and bite characteristics of natural teeth as accurately as possible. Many patients who receive them can’t tell the difference between their prosthetic teeth and their natural ones.
Benefits Of Dental Implants
- Implants can often last a lifetime. Once the bone fuses with the implanted post, it can remain in place for many decades, just like regular teeth
- Implants look identical to the rest of your teeth
- Implants don’t place any additional strain on adjacent teeth, unlike dental bridges
- Implants prevent bone loss in the jaw by permitting transmission of chewing forces to the bone
Drawbacks Of Dental Implants
- Implants are more expensive than dental bridges because of the need for surgery
- Implants take longer to install because of the need to wait for the implant to fuse with the bone before installing the crown
- Some patients require bone grafts before surgery to ensure that they have sufficient bone volume to accommodate the implant