Are you confused between getting a dental bridge or a dental implant? Can’t decide which option is better for you?
Long gone are the days when people used to go through all the hassles of getting dentures, removing, cleaning, and re-attaching them, only to replace them in a few years. There are much better tooth-replacement options that can provide you a better-looking, more stable, and long-lasting smile.
Through this blog, we will weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the two most popular options — dental bridge vs implant — to help you better decide which one is better for you.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are like artificial anchors or roots for your teeth. In case of missing teeth, a dental implant is inserted in the gum line, and then an abutment is attached to it. This abutment helps screw the crown or the artificial tooth with the implant. The result is natural-looking teeth that are stable and potentially long-lasting.
There are various types of dental implants; however, zirconium and titanium implants are the most common ones.
- Dental implants are the closest tooth replacement option you have to a permanent solution as they naturally fuse to your jawbones and easily last for over 20 years.
- Dental implants are also the best option for maintaining your bone health and minimizing the risks of bone loss.
- Dental implants are relatively more aesthetic in appearance and can give you the picture-perfect smile that is hard to differentiate from a natural one.
- Since dental implants are supposed to fuse with your jawbones, it is important that adequate healthy bones are present in your jaw. If not, you might have to opt for an additional bone grafting procedure.
- The entire implant procedure can take months altogether as, after every sitting, your gums need enough time to heal before entering them again.
According to a report in the New York Times, the cost of a dental implant for a single tooth can be anything between $3,000 to $4,500. This easily brings the total expense up to around $24,000 to $45,000 for a partial set of teeth, which is a considerable amount if you are weighing your options against dentures or bridges.
A dental bridge consists of a false tooth/teeth to fill the gap of the missing tooth/teeth and two or more crowns (also called anchoring or abutment teeth) on either side of the gap. This forms a literal bridge that fills the space of the missing tooth/ teeth and comes in a variety of materials including gold, silver, porcelain, and porcelain-fused metals.
Although there have been developments in implant-supported dental bridges, conventionally, there are three main types of dental bridges as follows:
- Traditional Dental Bridges
These kinds are used when there are natural teeth on either side of the gap. Two abutment teeth hold the bridge securely from either side, and to fit the crown, a part of the enamel needs to be scraped off from the natural teeth.
- Cantilever Bridges
This kind of bridge is used when there are natural teeth only on one side of the gap. Since the bridge is secured from only one side, the strain is increased on the natural tooth, and these bridges are considered to be more prone to slips or fractures.
- Maryland Bridges
Also called resin-bonded bridges, these are commonly used to replace front teeth. Porcelain or metal bands are used to bind the artificial teeth to the backside of their adjacent teeth. Since no crowns are involved, Maryland bridges do not require scraping off the enamel. However, that also means these are the least durable of all.
- Dental bridges are the most cost-effective solution to hassle-free tooth replacement.
- In the entire process of dental bridge installation, bone grafting is not needed even if there isn’t adequate healthy, natural bone in the jaw.
- The process is among the quicker, lesser invasive, and lesser-complicated ones which drastically cuts down the time you need to get back your normal smile.
- Dental bridges aren’t a long-term solution for tooth replacement primarily because they put a lot of pressure on the adjacent teeth thereby making the structural foundation relatively unstable.
- The stress on the teeth to which the bridge is attached may further lead to bone loss and create greater problems if poorly maintained.
Perhaps one of the biggest factors that work in a dental bridge’s favor is its affordability. Depending on the type and quality of tooth you are opting for, a dental bridge can cost you anywhere between $300 to $1,200 per tooth. Artificial and metal-infused bridges lie on the lower end whereas all-porcelain bridges are generally more expensive.
Dental Bridge vs Implant: Which is Better?
Making a choice for tooth replacement and smile correction is all about your priorities. Most people prefer a solution that is better looking, more stable, lacks risks, and can last long. In that case, there is no substitute for dental implants. However, for those who are low on budget and need a quick fix to a missing tooth, dental bridges are the better way to go.
Are There Any Risks After Dental Implants Procedure?
Dental implants are largely considered to be the safest tooth-replacement option. Since they form the roots for the artificial teeth inside the jaw, the chances of injury, cracks, and fracture are also slim. However, a few rare cases of infection in the gums due to poor maintenance have been recorded.
Since the dental implant procedure is highly invasive and involves opening and modifying the gum and bone tissues, you should be very careful with your dental hygiene as well as eating practices. Adequate healing time should be given to the implant site to avoid any possible risks of injury or infection.
On a final note, dental implants beat dental bridges in most of the important factors and are easily considered a better option. However, the multiplied expense also makes it an unfavorable choice for many. You will only be able to make the right choice once you get your oral condition examined and professional consultation.