Should I have a Bridge or a Dental Implant?

For patients missing one or a multiple teeth,  they are often left with the option of having a bridge or  a  dental implant(s).  Given that a patient is healthy, and does not have any contraindications, dental  implants are almost always the preferred treatment.  Of course, every situation is different, and your dentist may reasons to use a bridge to replace teeth.  However, below are five reasons to choose dental implants over a bridge.

  • Implants are more conservative treatment.  They do not require the preparation of healthy tooth structure on adjacent teeth.  An implant functions as it’s own tooth.  However, a bridge is held in place by adjoining teeth.  The adjacent teeth must be prepared in order to make room for the bridge to bond onto it.  The bridge is typically composed of abutments and pontics.  The abutments fit over the top of the anchoring teeth, while the abutments replace the missing teeth. 
  • With proper oral hygiene and care, implants have a better long term prognosis than bridges.  They are implanted to and fuse with your bone, unlike bridges that are cemented, or bonded to adjacent teeth.  This means, with bridges, adjacent or abutment  teeth are exposed to greater forces, that may lead to complications.
  • Hygiene for dental implants is generally the same as for natural teeth.   Bridges are difficult to clean around and under, which means that plaque may build up in the area surrounding the bridge.  This may cause decay on the teeth that support the bridge, necessitating more costly dental work
  • The bone beneath an implant does not degenerate.  However, bone beneath the pontic (missing tooth) of a bridge will likely deteriorate over time.  When chewing forces are not placed on the jaw bone, the bone begins to degenerate or become thinner over time.
  • Implants have better appearance and esthetics.  Since the implant is replacing just the missing tooth, and do not have to be attached to the anchor teeth, the implant tooth can be contoured more naturally, and looks more like your natural smile.