Missing teeth can significantly impact your daily life. Depending on the number and location of your missing teeth, you may have difficulty chewing or talking properly. From a social perspective, the situation can make you feel self-conscious when you smile, speak, or laugh.
Both a dental bridge, if you have remaining healthy teeth, and dental implants work to resolve your problems. While both types of prosthetics serve as artificial tooth replacements, they differ in their application and outcomes. Factors such as your current dental condition, medical history, and personal preferences help determine which solution can serve you best.
Bridge and implant expert Shaun Alex, DDS, and the staff at District Cosmetic Dental in Washington, DC, have the expertise necessary to guide you in choosing the best option. Dr. Alex and his team offer caring and professional support at every step of your tooth replacement process to ensure optimal results.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge uses one or more artificial teeth to cover a gap resulting from missing teeth. The fixed prosthetic closes, or “bridges,” the gap where the missing teeth belong.
A bridge uses the natural teeth on both sides of the gap as anchors, or abutment teeth, for the artificial teeth. Dental crowns affixed to each of the abutment teeth serve to hold the artificial teeth in place.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant uses a titanium post that’s screwed into your jawbone to act as an artificial tooth root. During dental implant surgery, Dr. Alex makes an incision into your gum to expose your jawbone and attach the post. Over time, the post bonds with your natural bone.
This creates a sturdy base to support an artificial tooth, or crown, on top of it, mimicking the structure and appearance of a natural tooth.
How does a bridge differ from an implant?
Dental bridges and implants differ in the following key characteristics:
- It takes a simple dental procedure to apply a bridge; an implant requires surgery
- A bridge doesn’t have the same risks of infection or damage possible with dental implant surgery
- A bridge requires as little as a few weeks to complete; an implant may take months
- A bridge may not look or feel as natural as a dental implant
- A bridge affects the adjoining healthy teeth; an implant leaves your natural teeth intact
- A bridge requires careful dental hygiene to maintain the spaces between the crowns; you maintain an implant with normal brushing and flossing
Are bridges or implants more expensive?
A bridge typically has a lower upfront cost, as it requires fewer office visits and dental procedures. However, a dental bridge may need replacement every 5-15 years, depending on overall dental hygiene and conditions. You also may need adjustments to your bridge as your teeth change over time.
An implant has higher upfront costs because it requires multiple steps for completion. However, an implant can last a lifetime without replacement.
Both bridges and implants may qualify for coverage by dental insurance, depending on your individual dental insurance plan.
Is a bridge or implant right for me?
Part of the decision with bridges vs. implants depends on your personal preferences. Do you want a fast solution? Are you willing to undergo dental surgery? Can you afford the price difference?
Dr. Alex considers your lifestyle and preferences in addition to factors such as the health of your remaining teeth, your medical history, and dental hygiene to help you determine the best option for replacing your missing teeth.
Don’t live another day with missing teeth. Schedule an appointment at District Cosmetic Dental online, or call our office today to find out more about the benefits of bridges vs. implants.