So, you have a missing tooth. Now what? It is difficult to hide the obvious gap in your smile. Bring back your confidence with a tooth replacement. There are many options available for artificial teeth. When making the decision, many patients find themselves comparing dental implant vs. bridge.

Tooth loss is a common issue with many adults. Research shows that 69% of adults aged 35 to 44 have lost at least one tooth. Unfortunately, the human tooth does not have the capability to heal teeth after tooth decay or tooth loss. However, dental professionals can offer options to replace your missing teeth as well as save your surrounding teeth from corresponding damages.

Tooth loss is often accompanied by low self-confidence. In addition, you may have difficulties eating and your other teeth may develop gaps. Dental implants and dental bridges are the two most common tooth replacement options to resolve these issues. In this article, we’ll get you through the differences between dental implants versus bridges.

What is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge is an artificial tooth replacement option that is made up of 3 parts: abutment teeth, anchor crowns, and pontic teeth. Abutment teeth are the natural teeth that have a gap between them. Anchor crowns fit over the natural teeth and have what is called a pontic suspended between them. Pontics are usually made from metal and or porcelain to match the color of your natural teeth.

The Four Types of Dental Bridges

  • Traditional Dental Bridges

    Traditional dental bridges are the most common among the four types of dental bridges. The traditional bridge is anchored next to the gap of the tooth. They are held in place by the two abutment teeth made from titanium, gold, zirconia, or stainless steel.
  • Cantilever Bridges

    The cantilever bridge is like the traditional dental bridge that is attached to the abutment tooth. But the cantilever is held only on one side of the natural tooth. This one is not commonly used as it can be the root of tooth decay or gum disease. This is due to the fact that only one of your teeth holds the bridge.
  • Maryland Bridges

    Maryland bridges, also called resin-bonded bridges, are common for replacing front teeth. This type of dental bridge binds a pontic tooth to the back of the natural tooth.
  • Implant-supported Bridges

    Unlike regular dental bridges, implant-supported bridges are connected to dental implants instead of natural teeth.

What are the Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges?

The Pros of Dental Bridges

  • Doesn’t require a surgery

    Dental bridges can be installed in two visits to your dentist, without enduring surgery. The exception to this is if you are using an implant-supported bridge. Installing an implant will extend the process.
  • More affordable option

    In most cases, your dental insurance plan will cover the cost for dental bridges. This makes it a better option for budget-conscious people. A dental bridge also has fewer upfront fees.
  • Maintain normal facial shape

    Bone loss from the jaw can affect your facial structure causing your face to look sunken in or withdrawn. Dental bridges fill the gaps on your teeth to prevent bone loss from the jaw or at the place of the missing tooth.
  • Last from 5 to 7 years

    Dental bridges can help you eat, speak, and smile confidently and usually lasts from 5 to 7 years.

The Cons of Dental Bridges

  • More prone to damages

    The anchor crowns that are used to hold the pontic over the gap in your teeth put pressure on your natural teeth. This can cause damage and make your bridge, as well as your natural teeth, more vulnerable.
  • Abutment teeth may weaken

    Due to the weight of the bridge and the constant impact of biting and chewing, the abutment teeth tend to weaken.  As the teeth weaken, the chances of the bridge collapsing increases.
  • Doesn’t address bone loss

    Since pontics only sit above the gum line and not on the roots of the tooth, the jawbone can still deteriorate over time.
  • Requires more regular maintenance

    Since dental bridges are not as stable as other tooth replacement options, you must pay extra close attention to your dental health and hygiene.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a medical procedure that involve surgically implanting an artificial tooth where your natural tooth once was. Dental implants provide better support and better overall oral health vs. a dental bridge.

An examination by a trusted dental professional will let you know if you are a good candidate for dental implants. In Indianapolis and other parts of Indiana, dental implants can significantly improve one’s oral health. In fact, there are more than 5 million dental implants installed every year across the US.

Dental implants work by drilling a hole into your gum to expose the bone. A metal implant body is then placed at the holes. It will serve as the root for the abutment and the dental crown. The cylindrical or screw metal will act as a permanent tooth replacement to the root of a missing tooth or teeth.

Since the implant post is fixed to the bone, it will allow your gum tissue to grow up around it after a period of time. The healing process usually takes about 2 to 6 months, depending on your personal case. When the gums are totally healed, the customized crown will be attached as a replacement for the missing tooth.

What are the Pros and Cons of Dental Implants?

The Pros of Dental Implants

  • Simulates normal teeth function and appearance

    Like your natural teeth, dental implants allow you to speak, eat, and smile normally. They are also designed to look like your natural teeth, making you feel more confident.
  • Independent support

    The metal implant post that acts as an artificial root to the missing tooth serves as independent support to the crown and abutment. An Implant does not leave a negative impact on natural surrounding teeth.
  • Easy to clean and care for

    You can clean your implants just like your natural teeth.
  • Longer lasting

    Dental crowns usually last around 15 years. However, with proper oral care and hygiene, implants can last for 25 years. This makes them a more practical tooth replacement option for Indianapolis residents. There is also a 98% success rate for dental implants even 10 years after the initial implant placement.

The Cons of Dental Implants

  • Requires surgery

    A dental implant is a permanent way to replace a lost tooth and does require an invasive surgery. However, modern implant dentistry has been around since the 1960’s and is considered very safe.
  • Higher upfront cost

    Since dental implants require surgery, they are more expensive when compared to bridges. Dental implant placement will likely cost a few thousand dollars. 

Dental Implant vs. Bridge: Which is Better?

In conclusion, both dental implants and bridges are effective ways to replace missing teeth. However, not every procedure is one-size-fits-all. When considering a dental implant vs. bridge, you should talk to your dentist for guidance about which tooth replacement option is best for your health and budget.

Dental Implant Indianapolis is a trusted implant dentistry professional that provides permanent tooth replacement options. We have over XX experience providing successful dental implant services for Indianapolis residents.

We can help you decide whether a dental implant vs. bridge is best for you. Let us help bring back the confidence you need to show off your smile again. Contact our team today discuss your options for replacing missing teeth.