Tooth bridge vs implant? You’re certainly not alone if you’re looking to restore your smile and replace a missing tooth or teeth. Australian adults have an average of 4.5 missing teeth, and around 61% of seniors have mild to severe gum disease. Missing teeth can affect your appearance, confidence, health, and quality of life. Replacing teeth as soon as possible is a good idea if you’ve lost teeth due to decay, periodontal disease or injury.
Dental bridges and implants are two of the best solutions for replacing missing teeth. These solutions can restore your confidence and prevent further dental problems from occurring. But how do the two treatments differ, and what is best for you?
What’s the difference between a dental bridge vs implant?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root embedded into your jawbone, just like a natural tooth root. Dental implants support individual artificial teeth (crowns) or work in conjunction with dental bridges, with an implant supporting the bridge at each end.
In contrast, dental bridges replace teeth rather than tooth roots and do not integrate with the jawbone. Replacement teeth sit on the gums to close the gap and are held in place with crowns placed over two or more teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth. A dental bridge can replace a single tooth or multiple missing teeth.
If you’re unsure whether to choose a tooth bridge vs an implant, it may be an idea to visit a dentist that offers a free consultation for some professional advice.
Should you choose dental bridges or dental implants?
While dental bridges and implants can work together to restore a smile, most patients opt for one or the other. So if you’re wondering which is the best solution for you, we’ve put together the pros of cons of a dental bridge vs implant to help you decide.
When replacing missing teeth, you want something that will help you look your best. Both dental implants and bridges are excellent solutions for creating a complete and stunning smile. Whichever option you choose, the dentist will shade match the colour of the replacement teeth to your surrounding teeth for a totally natural look.
However, a dental implant feels more natural than a bridge because it fits against the gums, whereas a dental bridge lacks a natural fit.
It’s not just the appearance you have to think about when considering a tooth bridge vs an implant. Replacement teeth must be comfortable, allowing you to eat, talk, and smile without discomfort.
Dental implants are more comfortable than tooth bridges because they feel like natural teeth. They don’t move around and are as strong as natural teeth, so you can continue to eat your favourite foods, however chewy or crunchy.
A dental bridge can still be a comfortable solution, however. Made with porcelain, they look like natural teeth and, when fitted by an experienced dentist, should have an exacting fit. That said, it can take a few weeks to get used to a dental bridge and put added strain on the abutment (supporting) teeth.
When a tooth is lost, the bone beneath it diminishes since chewing pressure no longer stimulates it. Dental implants stop further bone loss and encourage new bone growth, whereas dental bridges cannot do either since they merely sit on top of the gums.
A dental implant is made from titanium or zirconia, both biocompatible materials. As a result, when a dental implant is inserted into the jawbone, the bone starts to fuse with it like it would a natural tooth root. This process known as osseointegration provides a solid foundation for the new teeth and strengthens the jawbone’s structure.
Dental bridges are cheaper than dental implants.
Patients can expect to pay up to $1,800 per tooth for a bridge and between $2000- $7,000 per dental implant, although the price varies according to the required treatment. It would be best to get a consultation at your local dental clinic to determine the exact cost of either treatment.
Getting a dental implant involves multiple procedures with healing and recovery time in between. The process also involves oral surgery, although this is considered minor. It can take between 3 and 6 months for osseointegration to occur before the dentist can place a permanent crown or bridge to complete the smile restoration.
A dental bridge takes far less time to complete but does involve filing down the healthy abutment teeth to accommodate the dental crowns and support the bridge. This can weaken the teeth, leaving them more susceptible to decay.
Book a dental consultation near you in Carindale or Mt Gravatt
If you need more help deciding between a tooth bridge vs implant, or you’re ready to restore your smile, our experienced dentists are here to help. Simply book an appointment to start the ball rolling, and we’ll soon have your smile back to its former glory.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner
ADA – How many teeth do you have? How many will you keep for life?
Smile.com.au – Cost of dental bridges
Finder.com.au – How much do dental implants cost
Austalian Dental Association – Queensland