By: Dr. Lahiru Chandraweera

January 01, 2023

Comparing Dental Implants and Bridges: Which is Better for Your Oral Health?

Are you considering getting restorative dental work done but need help determining which option is suitable for you – dental implants or dental bridges? You’re not alone; many people struggle to make this decision.

In this blog post, we’ll provide you with the information you need to help you weigh your options. We’ll discuss their advantages and disadvantages so you can decide which treatment fits your unique circumstances.

How Do Dental Implants Differ From Bridges?

Dental implants and bridges are two dental restorations used to replace missing teeth. While they may appear similar, the two dental restorations differ in various ways.

Dental implants replace both the root and crown of a missing tooth. A titanium screw is surgically implanted into the jawbone and acts as an artificial tooth root. Once integrated with the jawbone, a dental restoration, like a dental crown, is placed on top of the titanium implant.

On the other hand, a dental bridge consists of one or more false teeth that are securely connected between two or more crowns. These crowns are cemented on the teeth adjacent to the gap – also known as abutment teeth. The abutment teeth support the bridge and must be reshaped to ensure its snug fit.

Unlike dental implants, dental bridges do not require oral surgery. They can be completed in two or three visits. Dental implant procedures require more visits to the dentist and more time for healing.

Both dental implants and dental bridges are viable options for replacing missing teeth. However, each treatment has strengths and weaknesses. Your dentist will assess your needs to determine which treatment suits you.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Dental Implants?

Dental implants have become a popular tooth replacement option for those looking to complete their smile and improve their oral health. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of dental implants so you can decide if they’re right for you.

Pros of Dental Implants

  • They provide replacement teeth that look and feel just like natural teeth.

  • They can last for a long time if given proper care.

  • They are stable and secure. Dental implants fuse to the jaw’s bone tissue, making them secure and unlikely to shift or slip out of place.

  • They don’t require special care. Dental implants require the same daily oral hygiene routine as natural teeth, making them easy to maintain.

  • They stimulate bone growth and preserve bone structure in the jaw by preventing bone shrinkage, which occurs when teeth are extracted.

Cons of Dental Implants

  • Dental implant surgery is a more invasive procedure than other tooth replacement options. Due to the surgery, the procedure carries risks like infection, which could lead to implant failure.

  • The initial cost of implants is higher than other tooth replacement options.

  • Dental implants involve a lengthy healing process compared to other treatments. The recovery period for dental implant placement varies, but it usually takes several months for the implants to fully integrate with the jawbone.

  • Additional dental procedures may be required prior to implant treatment. Bone graft or sinus lift may be necessary for people who have had bone loss and lack bone density to support the dental implant. Those suffering from periodontal disease require gum disease treatment to avoid the loss of more bone.

  • Patients with certain medical conditions, such as uncontrolled diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and heart disease, are unsuitable for dental implants.

Dental implants provide a viable alternative for replacing missing teeth and restoring natural smiles. However, there are pros and cons associated with them that must be considered before deciding.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Bridges?

One of the most popular treatment options for tooth loss is dental bridges. Before undergoing this treatment, however, it’s important to consider its pros and cons.

Pros of Bridges

  • Dental bridge treatment can be completed in a shorter time, with the entire process taking as little as a few weeks compared to several months for implants.

  • Dental bridges are more affordable compared to dental implants.

  • Dental bridges can be designed to blend with your natural teeth. The tooth contour and shade can be customised to create a beautiful smile.

  • Dental bridges can help restore the normal chewing functions of your mouth. By replacing the missing teeth, you’ll be able to enjoy eating your favourite foods again.

Cons of Bridges

  • They rely on the adjacent teeth to remain stable and secure. This means that healthy teeth must be altered or trimmed to accommodate the bridge.

  • Bridges don’t replace missing roots and can’t provide the stimulation and support natural teeth provide to the jawbone. Lack of jawbone stimulation can lead to further bone shrinkage, resulting in a sagging facial appearance.

  • The space underneath the bridge can be difficult to clean. Without proper hygiene, the teeth that support the bridge can decay, and the gums might become inflamed.

It’s important to weigh these pros and cons carefully before deciding on having a dental bridge as replacement teeth.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last Compared to Bridges?

While bridges usually last up to 15 years, dental implants have a much longer lifespan. If properly cared for, dental implants can last for an average of 25 years.

Dental implants owe their longevity to their titanium base, which is resistant to decay and wear. Plus, since the implant is embedded in the bone, it becomes an integral part, allowing patients to have a stronger biting force.

If you’re looking for a dental treatment that stands the test of time, ask an experienced dentist about how dental implants might be what you’re looking for.

Which Is More Expensive: Dental Implants or Bridges?

Deciding between dental implants and bridges can depend not only on aesthetics and functionality but also on cost.

Generally speaking, the more expensive option is dental implants. A single implant can cost around $4,000-$6,000, while a full arch of teeth using All-on-4 implants ranges between $16,000 and $42,000.

Fixed bridges are more affordable. They usually cost between $500-$1,500 per tooth, with a bonded bridge averaging around $2,300 per tooth.

Knowing the relative costs of each treatment will help you make an informed choice when deciding which is more suitable for you.

How Can I Choose Which Option Is Better for Me?

Choosing the right option between dental implants and bridges can be a challenging yet important decision. Everyone’s needs and circumstances are unique. It’s important to choose wisely and with informed input from a dental professional.

Dental implants suit you better if you want a more secure, reliable replacement while preserving your remaining natural teeth. Bridges can replace missing teeth but require more extensive preparation of healthy adjacent teeth. However, a dental bridge is also a good option if budget is a concern. This treatment makes it possible to get replacement teeth for a reasonable price.

Factors such as budget, lifestyle, and overall health must be considered when choosing between dental implants and bridges. Consulting a qualified dentist and having a full mouth examination is the ideal way to determine which option is better for you.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to tooth loss, dental implants and dental bridges are two of the most popular solutions available, and it can be difficult to choose which one is better for your oral health. By considering important factors such as your dental health, budget, and lifestyle and seeking advice from a dental professional, you’ll be able to decide which one suits your needs.

If you’re looking for a place to have a consultation or dental restoration procedure, Hills Family Dental Centre is the place for you! With years of experience, we offer competitive prices, modern equipment and technologies, and a highly knowledgeable team of dentists.

To begin your journey towards a complete smile and better oral health, book an appointment with us! You may book through our website or give us a call today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Several types of dental implants are available, each with its unique purpose.

  • Single-tooth implants:
    These are used to replace a single missing tooth. A titanium post is inserted into the jawbone and covered with a dental crown.

  • All-on-4 dental implants:
    In this type of implant, four strategically placed dental implants are implanted, and a full arch denture is attached for support.

  • Implant-supported dentures:
    These utilise 6-8 dental implants placed in various strategic locations to better secure the denture to the patient’s gums.

  • Implant bridges:
    They work similarly to implant-supported dentures, but instead of connecting one full arch denture, they use two or more implants connected using three or more prosthetic teeth.

The process begins with a consultation with your dentist to determine if you qualify for dental implants. If you qualify, you will be scheduled for a surgical procedure to place the implants. This surgery is usually done under local anesthesia. However, this will depend on your comfort level and the complexity of your case. In some cases, sedation is also considered.

During the procedure, a small incision is made in your gums to expose the area of the jawbone where the titanium screw (the implant) will be embedded. After placing the post, it takes a few months to fuse with your jawbone. Once healed, an abutment or connector piece is placed onto the post before securing the replacement tooth, like a crown, bridge, or denture.

A dental implant procedure takes around 6-12 months to complete. The time it takes depends on how many implants are being placed and how much preparation work is required first.

The initial surgical phase of placing an implant can be completed in one appointment. However, if the gums are diseased and need treatment, or if the jawbone needs reconstruction, more appointments may be necessary. After dental implant placement, it may take a few months to be securely bonded to the jaw bone before being restored.

Dental implants offer many benefits, though the process can take some time to complete. Once everything is in place, you’ll have a beautiful smile that lasts.

Dental implant costs vary depending on several factors. Here is a generally accepted price range for various types of implant treatments.

  • Single-tooth implants can range from $4,000 to $6,000 on average.
  • Implant-supported bridges may see a range from $6,300 to $20,500.
  • Implant-supported dentures have an average cost of $15,000 – $18,000.
  • If a full smile restoration is desired using All-on-Four dental implants, you can expect to pay between $16,000 and $42,000 per arch.

Every treatment plan is tailored and priced differently depending on your individual needs and desires. Talk with a dental professional regarding estimated costs after an evaluation.