Bridge or Dental Implant – Should I get a bridge or implant? Which is Better?

by Gary Adams DDS Dentist Implant and TMJ Dentist

dental implant vs bridge

What Happens If I do not Replace a Tooth? Do I need to Replace a missing tooth?

If a missing tooth is not replaced, the following will happen

bad bite from missing teeth

  1. A Bad Bite due to teeth shifting into and about the missing tooth space
  2. Teeth Wear and Fracture due to Heavier and Uneven chewing Forces around the area of tooth loss 
  3. Jaw Bone loss and weakening of the gum especially to the teeth adjacent to the lost tooth site.
  4. Poor Hygiene due to Food Impaction into area where tooth has been lost and all the new spaces as the remaining teeth shift into and around the missing tooth space. Many people will develop gum disease and report bad odors in their mouth.

Why are Implants Better than Bridges?

  1. Do not compromise or leverage/ connect to other natural teeth
  2. prevent bone loss
  3. Allow easy teeth cleaning
  4. look and feel like natural teeth; do not feel thick, bulky and are not connected to other teeth
  5. does not cause gum disease or cause foul smells
  6. prevents a bad bite and teeth shifting
  7. restores the balance of the bite and proper chewing function
  8. dental implants are far less susceptible to gum disease than natural teeth
  9. dental implants do not get cavities or decay
  10. dental implants never need root canals and never “die.”
  11. no drilling in the patients mouth
  12. dental implants cost approximately the same or less than a dental bridge
  13. dental implants take 3 – 4 months to finish relative to dental bridges which can be completed in 1-3 weeks.

Are Dental Bridges Better than Implants?

  1. requires at least two teeth to be drilled / prepared for the connection of a bridge
  2. bone loss will occur because a tooth has been lost an no root has been put back into the gum to hold the bone
  3. difficult to clean because teeth are connected and normal flossing cannot be preformed
  4. increased chance for cavities and gum disease
  5. prevents teeth from shifting
  6. increased chance for fracture to the teeth involved in the bridge because a tooth has been lost and more force is on fewer teeth
  7. research shows teeth prepared for bridges are at increased chance for needing root canals
  8. patient has to have their teeth drilled / prepared
  9. long term prognosis of bridge is poor relative to dental implants.
  10. most patients will eventually lose one or more of the teeth involved in the bridge necessitating another bridge and more costly dental treatment. Due to bone loss and the damage caused by bridges, future dental treatment and costs are greater. In fact future costs when a bridge fails can be more than double the costs of the original bridge. For example: if one of the teeth involved in the bridge is lost, now two need to be replaced, bone grafting will likely need to be done and the crown on the lone surviving bridge tooth will need a new crown.

What Happens if a 3 tooth Bridge Fails? Bridges usually last 5-10 years and often result in losing another tooth.

  1. two implants because now two need to be replaced instead of one
  2. bone grafting due to bone loss dating back to the original lost tooth. Bone loss occurs over time when teeth are not replaced.
  3. new crown for the tooth that survived the bridge failure
  4. or worse 3 implants if both bridge teeth are lost

Dental Implants over time cost less than Bridges because ultimately a bridge will fail resulting in the need for an even larger bridge or 2-3 dental implants. Bridges in most dental offices costs about as much as 3 crowns. In our office one dental implant costs less than 3 crowns. Unless there is a reason why someone cannot receive a dental implant, there is no good reason to get a bridge.

Dental Implants now come in metal-free ceramic or zirconia tooth colored forms.

Watch the Following Implant or Bridge YouTube Video:

The dental implant is the treatment of choice for tooth replacement At Natural Dental Associates. This is a video showing what happens to a dental bridge over time.  Dental bridges normally lead to bone and gum loss, poor dental cosmetics, dental decay and caries and further tooth loss.  Ultimately dental bridges lead to further tooth loss and the need for further tooth replacement.  The dental research shows that 50% of all dental bridges fail during the first 10 years of placement.  At Natural Dental Associates we most often recommend dental implants to replace missing teeth.  We offer full tooth replacement services.  Teeth can normally be replaced with a dental implant from start to finish in 2-3 months in just 3 short appointments.