Dental Bridges Vs. Implants: Which Is Better for Missing Teeth?

Dental implants and bridges are excellent ways to replace missing teeth due to injury, tooth decay, or gum disease. They aim to help you achieve a more beautiful smile, boosting your confidence and improving your quality of life. However, one has its benefits over the other, making it the better option for you, depending on your situation.

Here, we will go over what makes each treatment unique and the pros and cons of each so that you can make an informed decision with your dentist, such as this Markham family dentist.

What Are Dental Implants?

These are small, screw-like metal posts made of titanium or zirconia that your dentist or orthodontist surgically places in your jawbone. Their primary function is to act as strong support or roots to replacement teeth, whether dentures, crowns, or bridges. These replacement or artificial teeth are custom-made to look and feel like your natural teeth.

Every patient’s situation differs, so your dentist will design a customized treatment plan for you based on several factors, including:

  • The type of dental implants chosen (titanium or zirconia)
  • The number of missing teeth
  • Where the implants will be placed in your mouth
  • The condition of your jawbone and gums
  • Your overall oral health

Discuss with your dentist all your options for treatment before making a decision. See this dental implants ON clinic if you’re in the Ontario area for a consultation and see if you’re qualified for this procedure.

Benefits of Dental Implants

There are a few benefits of implants you should be aware of, which include:

  • They’re strong and durable. While the average lifespan of implants is 10 to 15 years, they can last up to 25 years or more with proper care.
  • They’re natural-looking and feeling. Implants are designed to look like your existing teeth, so no one will be able to tell the difference. They also feel like your natural teeth, which makes eating and speaking much easier.
  • They’re convenient. You don’t need to take them out and put them back in like you would with dentures. You can also brush and floss them just like your regular teeth.
  • Implants stimulate and preserve the jawbone. Unlike other tooth replacement options that can cause bone loss over time, implants help preserve the jawbone by stimulating it when you bite and chew. This maintains its density, shape, and strength.

Disadvantages of Dental Implants

Along with the benefits, implants also come with drawbacks, including:

  • They’re a surgical procedure. Implants are placed surgically in the jawbone, which means there is a risk for complications such as infection, nerve damage, and sinus problems.
  • They’re costly. Implants can be expensive.
  • They have a longer treatment time. The entire process can take up to 8 months or more to complete since you need time for the implant to fuse with the bone before placing the artificial tooth on top.
  • You need to have healthy gums and enough bone density. For implants to be successful, you need to have enough bone in your jaw to support them and healthy gums free of disease. If you don’t, you may require a bone or gum graft first, which adds to the cost and time of treatment.

What Are Dental Bridges?

This is a fixed (non-removable) appliance used to replace one or more missing teeth by placing artificial teeth in their place. It literally bridges or connects the gap created by missing teeth. It’s made up of two crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap called abutment teeth, with false teeth in between.

The false teeth are usually made from porcelain or ceramic to match the natural color of your teeth. Bridges can be supported by implants or your natural teeth.

Benefits of Dental Bridges

Like dental implants, there are also a few benefits that come with choosing a dental bridge over implants, which include:

  • They’re less invasive. Unlike implants that require surgery, bridges only require the preparation of the abutment teeth by removing some of the enamel to allow the placement of crowns.
  • They’re quick and easy. The entire process usually only takes a couple of weeks from start to finish, much shorter than the time it takes for implants to fuse with the bone (3 to 6 months).
  • They’re less expensive. Dental bridges are cheaper than implants.

Disadvantages of Dental Bridges

There are also some disadvantages of dental bridges, such as:

  • They can damage adjacent teeth. Preparing the abutment teeth for dental bridges involves removing some of the tooth enamel that can weaken these teeth, making them more susceptible to decay and damage.
  • They have a shorter lifespan. Dental bridges generally last up to 5 to 7 years before they need to be replaced. But they may last up to 10 years with proper care.
  • They may not be as strong as implants. Dental bridges are supported by your neighboring natural teeth. This means they’re not as strong as implants directly anchored into the jawbone.

The Bottom Line

Both dental implants and bridges are cosmetic and functional ways to replace one or more missing teeth. Your best option depends on your needs, preferences, and budget. Talk to your dentist to see which one is right for you. They may also recommend other dental procedures along with these treatments for maximum benefits. See for more info.