If you have a missing tooth, what can help you decide whether to replace it with a dental bridge or a dental implant? An overview of the differences, as well as the pros and cons of each, can help.
A dental bridge involves the missing tooth and the teeth on either side of it. A crown is placed on the teeth adjacent to the missing one, and the replacement tooth is suspended between them.
- The process is faster than receiving a dental implant.
- It can be placed by most dentists.
- It’s slightly less expensive than a dental implant. If the adjacent teeth need treatment anyway, it can be dramatically less expensive.
- Your adjacent teeth need to be tapered for dental crowns to fit over them.
- Extra stress is placed on the teeth that hold the bridge.
- For a few weeks after you receive it, your teeth will likely be sensitive to heat and cold.
- Diligent oral hygiene is required to prevent food from getting trapped beneath the bridge and producing bacteria that will infect your teeth and gums.
- Any future problem with any one of the teeth involved may require reconstructing the entire appliance, or possibly replacing it with a longer bridge. With an implant, each tooth can be addressed separately.
A dental implant mimics the structure of a natural tooth. A root form, usually made of titanium, is surgically implanted in the jawbone. After the jawbone heals around the root form, a replacement tooth is secured to it.
- Unlike a dental bridge, no work is required on adjacent teeth.
- The root form prevents jawbone shrinkage that normally occurs in the location of a missing tooth.
- It’s surgically implanted, so it looks and feels like a natural tooth.
- Oral hygiene is simpler—just brush and floss normally.
- You’ll need to visit an oral surgeon for implant placement, and you’ll return to our office for Dr. Becker to secure a dental crown to it. Although you have to travel to another office, the specialist will work closely with Dr. Becker to ensure accurate and optimal placement of your dental implant.
- There is a healing period of two to four months before you receive the replacement crown, but you can receive a temporary crown while you wait.
- It is more expensive than other options for tooth replacement.
Learn more about this option on our dental implants page.
Dental Implant vs. Bridge Consultation
Whether you prefer a dental bridge or a dental implant, you want it to look natural and to be properly placed. Dr. Becker has received extensive training in dental aesthetics and in occlusion, or proper bite. He understands the techniques required to give you a beautiful, natural-looking dental bridge that fits well. If you choose to receive an implant, Dr. Becker works closely with a periodontist—a specialist in placing dental implants—to ensure accurate placement. Your implant crown will look like it’s your own natural tooth.
If you would like to discuss your options and ask questions about the treatment, call our office to request a complimentary consultation with Dr. Becker, or request an appointment online.