What is the difference between a dental bridge and a dental implant?

When you lose a tooth, it is important to find a tooth replacement solution as soon as possible. Not only are lost teeth embarrassing, but they can also lead to dental issues in the future. The good news is technology has made it easier than ever to find a tooth replacement solution at your dental clinic. Here we look at the difference between a dental bridge and dental implants to help you find the best solution for your needs.

What Is the Difference Between a Dental Bridge and an Implant?

Dental bridges have long been used to provide a natural-looking tooth replacement. It is an aesthetic prosthesis designed to “bridge” gaps left by missing teeth, hence the name. A bridge is affixed using two crowns that cap your natural teeth on either side of the gap. 

Dental implants are used for tooth replacement as well, but the difference is that the single tooth is fixed to a titanium post implanted in your jaw. The “implant” serves as a replacement for your natural tooth roots providing a permanent solution to lost teeth. Dental implants require surgery to implant the titanium posts into the jawbone, and require longer healing time. The titanium then fuses to the bone, and your artificial teeth are inserted onto the screws on the exposed ends of the posts.  Though there is a longer healing time, the benefit is that it does not involve the teeth on either side of it.

What Are The Benefits Of A Dental Bridge?

Bridges offer many benefits including:

  • Restoring your smile
  • Providing proper chewing function
  • Allowing you to speak clearly compared to dentures
  • Maintaining the natural look of your face
  • Ensuring your remaining teeth don’t drift into the gap
  • Providing you with an affordable option for tooth replacement compared to dental implants
  • Giving you a relatively permanent solution compared to dentures
  • Offering a strong enough replacement for molars

 Because bridges don’t require surgery, they also allow you to have your tooth replacements much quicker than dental implants.

What Types Of Dental Bridges Are Available?

 There are four types of bridges:

  1. Traditional bridges: This option consists of one or more artificial teeth held in place on either side using dental crowns on the adjacent teeth.
  2. Cantilever bridges: In this case, the artificial teeth are affixed on one side instead of both sides making them ideal for back teeth.
  3. Maryland bridges: These bridges are held in place by a metal or porcelain framework as opposed to using crowns.
  4. Implant-supported bridges: As the name implies, these bridges are supported using implanted dental posts.

You can discuss which option is best for you with your dentist.

What Is The Procedure For Getting A Dental Bridge?

Your dental bridge most commonly requires two appointments at your dental clinic. At the first appointment, your teeth are prepared for the bridge and at the next, the bridge is inserted. During your first appointment, your dentist will:

  • Apply a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable.
  • File down your adjacent two teeth to prepare them for the crowns.
  • Make impressions of your teeth to fit them for the new crowns.
  • Review images of your natural teeth if they are available to help create the best match.
  • Place a temporary bridge to protect your exposed teeth.

At your second visit your dentist will:

  • Remove the temporary bridge.
  • Check your new bridge to make sure it is a good match for your natural teeth.
  • Check the crowns fit properly.
  • Cement the bridge in place to your two adjacent teeth.

With proper care, your bridge should last up to 10 years.

Interested in learning more about bridges? Schedule your next appointment with Dr. Elizabeth Turner here and she’ll get to know you and evaluate your unique needs.

To learn more about our restorative dentistry services, visit this page here.

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