If you have missing teeth, there are a few cosmetic restorations available to restore your smile. Two popular options are bridges and dental implants. Both improve esthetics, oral health, and oral function. Each has distinct differences in durability, length of procedure, cost, and other important aspects.

When you visit the office of Salt Lake City dentist Dr. Rod Gleave, he’ll explain teeth replacement options and help you decide which treatment best suits your needs.

What Are Some Key Differences Between Dental Bridges and Implants?

Dental Bridges

A dental bridge consists of one or more false teeth (called pontics) set between two abutment crowns. The crowns can be attached to healthy natural teeth or dental implants. If the last tooth on an arch needs to be replaced with a bridge, a cantilever bridge can be attached with a single abutment crown. Dental bridges are usually made of ceramic or porcelain fused to metal (PFM).

Advantages Of Dental Bridges

  • Procedure: The procedure for placing dental bridges is relatively simple. The dentist will prepare abutment teeth to receive crowns. He will then take an impression so that your custom bridge will fit your prepared teeth and opposing teeth. You’ll wear a temporary bridge or crowns while the lab fabricates your permanent bridge.
  • Cost: Dental bridges have a lower treatment cost than implants.
  • No surgery: Having a dental bridge placed does not require oral surgery.
  • Durability: Implants are more durable than bridges. Since bridges are more susceptible to damage, they’re more likely to require replacement and repairs.
  • Aesthetics: Both implants and bridges deliver natural-looking results, but many find that implants offer superior cosmetic results.
  • Oral hygiene routine: Dental bridges can be difficult to properly clean. Flossing can be particularly challenging with dental bridges.

Disadvantages Of Bridges

  • Long-term impact: The long-term issue with dental bridges is they wear down the teeth they are attached to. This can cause decay and even for the tooth to become loose and fall out. This takes years to happen but is worth noting. Gum disease is also common for those who have bridges long-term as the decay on surrounding teeth leads to gum irritation over time.
  • Possible Sensitivity: Whilst all dental devices will cause some sensitivity for the near future after being fitted, for dental bridges that sometimes does not go away. One reason for this is because of dental bridges’ impact on the surrounding teeth since they have to be drilled a small amount to support the dental bridge.
  • Not Rooted: Because dental bridges are not rooted like your other teeth or dental implants, this can lead to a higher frequency of breakages than other dental devices. Granted, this is still a significantly small amount of dental bridges, but they do still break with higher frequency than dental implants.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are composed of titanium posts that are topped with dental crowns. After the initial placement, the post fuses with the surrounding jawbone tissue through a natural process known as osseointegration. Once the dental implant has integrated into a patient’s jawbone, a crown can be attached via a small metal device known as an abutment.

Once that is placed, the implant is complete, and a new smile can be revealed once the area has been healed properly. There are several things to consider when looking into dental implants for treating a crooked, damaged, or misaligned smile. Below are a few key things to think about.

Advantages Of Dental Implants

  • Jawbone health: Tooth roots stimulate jawbone growth. Titanium posts stimulate the jawbone in a similar manner. This is something which that dentures, partial dentures, and bridges cannot do.
  • Durability: Implants are strong and durable, and they are resistant to decay and gum damage. Patients who have dental implants can enjoy natural chewing function. When properly maintained, implants can last a lifetime.
  • Aesthetics: Most of our patients report that dental implants look just like their natural teeth.
  • Oral care routine: Implants don’t require any special oral care routine – all you need to do is brush and floss as normal.
  • Cost: Dental implants do have a higher upfront cost than bridges. However, this is counterbalanced by the fact that implants can last for a lifetime.
  • Procedure: Implants require a lengthier treatment timeline that involves oral surgery.
  • Time: Having an implant set takes multiple visits to the dentist. You have to wait 3-6 months for the titanium post to fully integrate into the jawbone before the permanent crown can be placed. While you wait, you may be given a temporary crown.

Disadvantages Of Implants

  • Cost: This can be a prohibitive factor for some. Dental implants have a much higher upfront cost compared to dental bridges. But that cost tends to be worth it as dental implants can last for years to come. In many cases, dental implants are not covered by dental insurance which means you have to front the entire cost.
  • Time: Having an implant set takes multiple visits to the dentist. You have to wait 3-6 months for the titanium post to fully integrate into the jawbone before the permanent crown can be placed. While you wait, you may be given a temporary crown.
  • Allergies or Sensitivities: Dental implants are not for everyone. Those who have rare metal allergies or sensitivities especially have a hard time. The post for dental implants is usually made out of a metal like titanium. This can cause pain for some which make dental implants impossible to have.

Implants Vs Bridges: Conclusion

In most cases, implants are the preferable option. The ability to prevent jawbone atrophy is an important benefit of dental implants. Jawbone recession can cause an individual’s cheeks to appear sunken-in. The deterioration can also make it more difficult to chew. This is why dental implants remain a top-pick among discerning dentists like Dr. Gleave.

Dr Gleave has the experience, knowledge, and advanced technology to ensure your dental restoration procedures are effective and long lasting, whether implants or bridges are the chosen treatment route.

Rest assured that Dr Gleave and his talented team will help you get on a path to a new, beautiful smile!

Contact Our Salt Lake City Cosmetic Dentist

If you’re embarrassed about your smile or have difficulty chewing due to missing teeth, contact the office of Dr. Rod Gleave. He has extensive experience practicing cosmetic dentistry and delivering, beautiful, renewed smiles. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by giving us a call at 801-251-7868. We look forward to working with you to enhance your smile!