Missing teeth can have a significant impact on the appearance of your smile, affect your self-confidence and create a host of functionality issues. Two common solutions recommended by dentists for missing teeth replacement are a dental bridge and dental implants.
Both restorations address the same challenges, but their approach as a solution to replace missing teeth is different. It is essential that you gain an understanding of what each procedure entails, and its benefits, before deciding which option is right for your unique situation. So, what are the pros and cons of a dental bridge vs implant?
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is an appliance that attaches to the healthy teeth on either side of the gap. Typically, these teeth (called abutment teeth) are contoured and reshaped to accommodate the bridge. Once the abutment teeth have been prepped, they are capped with a dental crown which anchors the bridge of prosthetic teeth which are called pontics. By securing the prosthetic teeth to healthy teeth, the dental bridge becomes a long-lasting and durable solution for missing teeth.
- Cost-effective and quick solution which can typically be completed in two appointments.
- Aesthetic and functional.
- They don’t require a bone graft or sinus lift if bone loss is present.
- Patients with certain conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and bruxism can be fitted with a bridge.
- Dental bridges place additional strain on the two neighbouring teeth that support the bridge, making them more vulnerable to decay.
- Requires enamel removal of healthy adjacent teeth.
- Doesn’t address bone loss which will continue even after the gap is filled, shortening the life of the appliance.
- Require more maintenance to protect against bacteria build-up and gum disease.
- Need to be replaced every 7-15 years due to wear and tear.
What is a dental implant?
The structure of your tooth includes bone, ligaments and nerves, and once a tooth is removed, the area where the tooth was begins to deteriorate.
A dental implant is a small biocompatible titanium screw that replaces the root of a tooth, restoring this structure and providing an anchor for a prosthetic tooth.
Once the implant is placed in the jaw, the site takes three to six months to heal, and the implant fuses with the surrounding bone. A crown that matches the shape and colour of your existing teeth is cemented on top for a natural looking and fully functional tooth.
- Looks, functions and feels like a natural tooth.
- Requires only regular brushing and flossing.
- Does not require prep abutment teeth, a process which removes healthy tooth tissue.
- Prevents and reverses bone loss, positively impacting your oral health and the shape of your face as you age.
- Resistant to decay.
- Can last a lifetime, although the crown may need to be replaced.
- They have a high success rate.
- Cheaper than a dental bridge in the long run, due to their longevity.
- Dental implants take several months to complete.
- Require multi-stage surgery, especially if you require a bone graft or a sinus lift before an implant can be placed.
- Initial cost outlay.
- Patients who have poor jawbone density, diabetes, a heart condition or take blood thinners may not be good candidates for dental implant surgery. Heavy smokers are also not good candidates.
Whatever procedure you choose, whether it is a dental bridge or dental implants, the skilled and compassionate team at DDSS can help you identify the best solution for your smile and oral health. Call us on (02) 9158 6326 to book a consultation to discuss your options for missing teeth replacement and receive an estimate for dental bridge vs. implant cost.