Tooth loss is an incredibly common issue. So common, indeed, that by the time the average American citizen reaches 50, they will have lost no less than 12 permanent teeth. The loss of teeth can affect a person’s smile, alter their bite, and even cause their jaw bone to deteriorate. However, thanks to advances in prosthetic dentistry, which have led to the development of dental devices such as the dental implant and the bridge, patients can now readily counter the negative side effects associated with tooth loss. Since both a dental implant and a bridge propose to tackle the same issues, the next question, besides the comparison of dental implant price and bridge is; how do they compare in terms of quality and durability?
Dental Implant vs Bridge
First of all, it’s important to understand that a dental implant and a bridge utilize very different design solutions to answer the same problem. So whereas, the false tooth in a bridge is suspended between 2 crowns, in an implant, the false tooth is in fact attached to a titanium post that’s embedded directly into the jawbone.
In many ways, the differences in underlying design are married to the advantages and disadvantages associated with each option. For example, since a bridge’s suspended design is effectively buttressed by the adjoining teeth, it, therefore, intuitively follows that a bridge places more strain on teeth than an implant does.
Another advantage of an implant is that it can help prevent the jaw bone from shrinking. In this regard, the embedded nature of the implant’s design is once again pivotal as it’s conducive to promoting bone stimulation via chewing and biting in a way in which a bridge simply cannot replicate.
An implant’s embedded design can also deliver more pleasing aesthetic results than a bridge is capable of providing. This is particularly true if the missing tooth is located in a conspicuous location. Conversely, however, if the missing tooth is located towards the back of the mouth, aesthetic considerations may be of little concern.
In favor of a bridge is the fact that, unlike an implant, it can be fitted relatively quickly. So, whereas a bridge can be ready within weeks, the process of fitting an implant can take several months. This disparity is due to the fact that it can take 3-6 months for the jaw bone to satisfactorily mesh with an implant’s titanium post. Moreover, the added complexity of fitting an implant is reflected in the fact that it’s markedly more expensive than a bridge.
In terms of durability, however, an implant is significantly longer lasting than a bridge. Indeed, whereas an implant should last a lifetime, a bridge will typically need to be replaced within 10 years. As a result, over the long run, an implant may actually prove to be more cost-effective than a bridge.
Finally, with respect to maintenance, it should be noted that a bridge is much more difficult to clean properly than an implant is. Furthermore, as a consequence of this fact, it’s also more difficult to maintain oral health while wearing a bridge than an implant.
Dental Implant vs Bridge: Making a Decision
Each device has its comparative advantages and disadvantages. As such, the best way to make a final decision is to consult with a dentist. A dentist can help identify which option is most suitable given the circumstances.