If you’ve lost a tooth, it can significantly impact your daily life, affecting your confidence, appearance and oral health. Regardless of the reason behind your tooth loss, whether it’s tooth decay, gum disease, or it was knocked out, we highly recommend seeing a dentist as soon as possible. They’ll be able to recommend the best possible treatments to replace the missing tooth.
Dental implants and dental bridges are two popular options for replacing missing teeth. While both have their advantages, it’s important to understand the differences between them before making a decision.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a treatment used to replace a missing tooth or multiple teeth. As the name implies, it bridges the gap where the tooth was with a false tooth. This is bonded to the real teeth on both sides of the gap to hold it in place. It does not replace roots meaning no work is required to your jawbone to fit them.
What is a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are a permanent solution to missing teeth and known for their durability. They are embedded into the jawbone and act as an artificial tooth root which works the same way a natural tooth root would. They can also be used alongside bridges providing support for them.
Benefits of Dental Bridges
If you’re looking for an option that doesn’t need invasive surgery to replace missing teeth, a dental bridge is ideal. They are a more cost-effective solution compared to dental implants and can be completed in fewer appointments. Reasons to get a dental bridge include:
- They’re a cost effective dental solution.
- They don’t require bone grafting or invasive dental surgery.
- Upfront costs are typically lower than dental implants.
- Often can be completed in only two visits to your dentist which can be spread over a couple of weeks.
Benefits of Dental Implants
One of the major benefits of dental implants is that they can prevent bone loss in the jaw. When teeth are missing, the jawbone can start to deteriorate, leading to a sunken appearance in the face. Dental implants can stop the deterioration of the bone which in turn helps support the muscles and soft tissues of your face. Reasons to choose dental implants include:
- They are durable and can easily last over 20 years or even a lifetime if cared for properly, making them the best option for longevity.
- Look like your natural teeth and keep this appearance longer than bridges.
- Do not damage any healthy teeth near the implant.
- High success rate.
Appearance of Dental Bridges vs Implants
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, it’s important to select a solution that will enhance your appearance to its fullest potential. Whether you opt for dental implants or bridges, both options can give you a beautiful smile. Your dentist will ensure the colour of your replacement teeth match your natural tooth colour seamlessly.
Dental implants do have a more natural appearance than bridges. They also fit more naturally as they are rooted into your gum like a real tooth.
Are Dental Bridges or Implants More Comfortable?
Appearance is not the only thing to consider when replacing missing teeth. Comfort is vital, especially when it’s in such an important area like your mouth where you’ll want to be able to eat, talk and of course smile without feeling uncomfortable.
Dental implants are the more comfortable option available as they feel like your natural teeth as they have a root embedded into your gum.
Dental bridges may not fit quite the same as an implant but they can still be a comfortable treatment solution for a missing tooth. When fitted correctly, they should not give you any discomfort although they may take a while to get used to.
How are the Procedures Different?
When getting a dental bridge or implant fitted, the procedure for both treatments have differences. A dental bridge is a less complicated treatment and can be usually completed in just two appointments and your jawbone density doesn’t matter. Implants take longer to be fitted and your jawbone volume is a factor in suitability for this treatment.
Dental Bridge Procedure
During your first visit to be fitted with a dental bridge, your dentist will file down the teeth next to where your bridge is going. Your dentist will make an impression of the area and create a mould. This allows them to make you a bridge that will fit correctly in your mouth.
Your second visit is where the bridge will be fitted in place. The dentist will make sure your bite is correct and that it feels comfortable. Local anaesthetic is used to make sure there is no pain during the process.
Dental Implant Procedure
A dental implant treatment is typically performed in two phases. The first phase will likely be performed under local anaesthetic in your local practice. Implants require a dense bone that is strong enough to hold them in place securely. Jawbones that do not have enough volume may require your dentist to perform a bone graft.
The second phase is where the crown is attached. This typically won’t be done until three to six months after the implant has been fitted allowing the bone time to heal and regrow around the implant.
Dental Bridge vs. Implant Cost
If cost is an issue and you’re looking for an affordable option, a dental bridge may be your preferred solution. A single tooth adhesive bridge starts from £750 per tooth.
A dental implant will cost significantly more, however they’re also longer lasting than bridges and have the potential to be more cost effective in the long run. At Duthie Dental, the price of dental implants start at £2535 per tooth. 0% Finance is also available helping you spread the cost of your treatment.
Aftercare and Things to Consider
Both dental bridges and implants need caring for after you get them to ensure you get the longest use out of them.
Flossing is important for proper dental hygiene however it can be more difficult with a bridge. Your dentist will give you all the information you need for correctly caring for your bridge or implant.
When getting a dental bridge you need to be aware of the risk of damage to the adjacent teeth it’s attached too. As those teeth need to be filed down to attach the bridge, it can weaken them and increase the chance of tooth decay which is why it’s so important to maintain good oral hygiene once your bridge is fitted.
A bridge may be a cheap and effective cosmetic solution for missing teeth but they don’t provide the same stimulation for bone growth as dental implants which have a root fitted into your jawbone.
If you’re looking to restore your smile, or would like some help deciding what option is right for you, contact us today and our friendly team will be happy to help.