Dental Bridge Vs. Implant: Which is Better?

Older woman wearing a dress and sitting in a field smiling, with a bike behind her leaning against a tree

If you have a tooth – or several — that are in danger of falling out (or perhaps you already have missing teeth), there are several options to remedy the situation. Dental bridges and dental implants are popular ways to treat loose or missing teeth, but it can be difficult to figure out which option is best for you! Each method has its unique advantages, and the right choice depends on several factors, including your oral health, which teeth need help, and your budget. This guide will help you understand what your options are so you can make an informed choice!

First, what exactly is a dental bridge?

A dental bridge is a type of dental prosthesis used to replace missing teeth. It consists of one or more false teeth (known as pontics) that are attached to two dental crowns, which fit over the existing teeth on either side of the gap. The dental crowns are anchored onto the remaining natural teeth, providing stability and support for the bridge. Dental bridges fill in the gap left by missing teeth, improving the appearance of your smile and most importantly, restoring your bite. They’re not removable, like a denture, and are meant to stay fixed in place.

Dental bridges are typically recommended for individuals who have lost one or more teeth due to injury, decay, gum disease, or other reasons. Bridges can help people gain back the functionality of their teeth — including biting and even speech— and the beauty of their smile.

Next, what are dental implants?

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that provide a permanent base for fixed or removable replacement teeth. They’re typically made of titanium (or similar material) and surgically placed into the jawbone to replace missing teeth roots.

Once the implants have fully integrated with the bone, they’re used to support a dental crown, bridge, or denture. Implants provide a stable and secure foundation for the replacement teeth, restoring the look, feel, and function of natural teeth. They also help to preserve the jawbone, reducing the risk of bone loss and preserving facial structure.

Which option is best: dental bridge vs. dental implant

While a dental bridge and a dental implant serve similar purposes, there are some distinct differences — and requirements — that can help you decide which option is best for your situation.

  • Bone Density / Oral Health: Implants require a sufficient amount of healthy jawbone to anchor the implant. Patients who have poor oral health, such as advanced gum disease, may have lost bone density and would not be good candidates for dental implants. If you have poor bone density, a dental bridge may be a better option.
  • Better Preservation of Surrounding Teeth: Bridges require that the surrounding natural teeth be shaved down to accommodate the bridge, whereas implants do not impact the surrounding teeth.
  • Time: Dental implants require a surgical procedure and several months of healing before the final restoration can be placed. Alternatively, dental bridges can be placed in two visits just a few weeks apart.
  • Longevity: Dental implants are made of titanium and are designed to last for many years, sometimes even a lifetime with proper care. Bridges, on the other hand, may need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years.
  • Cost: Dental bridges are often less expensive than dental implants, making them a more affordable option for some patients.

Get a Full Evaluation Today at Ponderosa Dental

Still wondering which option may be a better fit for you? Meet with Missoula’s best dentist, Dr. Dan, to get a full evaluation and recommendation for your particular situation. Learn more about whether a dental implant or dental bridge would work best for you by scheduling a visit today on our website!