Dental implant or dental bridge?In our days dental implants are more popular than bridges as implants are the most advanced and conservative option for replacing missig teeth. Deciding whether to do a dental implant versus a cemented bridge you have to consider many questions such as the patients budget, goals, lifestyle choices and time restaints would determine the best choice for your new teeth.

Most of the dentists agree that implants are the ideal solution to missing teeth as we are preventing future bone loss, have great success rates, allow patients to practice normal hygeine, they are supposed to last longer than bridges and rarely need to be replaced. But there are exceptions: for example if the client is a heavy smoker who does not want to quit, does not have the budget for an implant or cannot return to the clinic for the restoration of the implant, then a bridge would be a good alternative for him or her.

When fixed bridge is preferable to the use of an implant

  • The biggest reason patients choose a bridge instead of an implant is its cost: it is usually somewhat higher for a single implant than a fixed 3 unit bridge.
  • The second reason is wishing to avoid surgery.
  • The third is that certain dental insurance plans do not cover implants, but will cover bridges.

Advantages of bridgework

  • Esthetic, functional, predictable, reliable
  • Less costly
  • Requires less time for final result

Disadvantages of dental bridges

  • Requires enamel removal of adjacent teeth
  • If adjacent teeth have crowns, they must be redone
  • Tooth decay is potential problem
  • Root canal treatment may be required if nerves are affected

Bridges had a strong place in the past but today dental implants overcame bridges as they are affordable and less expensive and give you many advantages. If you happen to be cavity prone, then dental implants are perfect for you as they have no chance of getting a cavity. We also have to mention that any time a cemented bridge is made in your mouth, it increases the risk of getting a cavity because it becomes more difficult to clean around the bridge than in between separate teeth.

Last but not least, if the neighbouring teeth are totally healthy, it does not make sense to drill them down to build a cemented bridge. Once you cut down a tooth, it is ireeversible. An implant is less invasive with respect to other teeth. Bridges also breakdown with decay on the abutment teeth and need to be replaced every 7 to 10 years. The most important benefit of dental implants is to keep the bone alive. When a tooth is lost the bone is no longer in function and slowly begins to disappear in this area. Implants are placed below the gum surface and the crown erupts through the tissue just like a natural tooth. That is how they can stimulate the bone.

By placing an implant you are not only replacing a missing tooth but you are maintaining bone. An implant can look, feel and function like a real tooth. Finally, you can floss between implants whereas it is very difficult to clean under bridges. Bridges can collect food underneath and cause a smell or odour in your mouth. What is more, food can lodge under bridges and lead to gum irritation or infection in the worst case.

In conclusion for your new teeth

The best way to find out which is better for you is to consult an experienced cosmetic dentist or prosthodontist who prepares a lot of implants. What is really important is that the patient be fully informed of the different possibilites including advantages and disadvantages to each, the cost differencies and any risks and potential complications.