Implants vs. Bridges

If you have lost one or more of your natural teeth, it is important to determine the best way to replace them. Replacing missing teeth will restore your confidence and prevent further issues like shifting of teeth, difficulty speaking, change in bite, a risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease. The two most popular options for replacing missing teeth are dental implants and dental bridges. Which option is best for you?

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are the next best thing to your healthy, natural teeth. Strong and stable, a dental implant restores a lost tooth so that it looks, feels, fits and functions like a natural tooth when implanted by your dentist. An implant is an artificial tooth root made of titanium. The post is inserted into the jawbone and supports a natural-looking dental crown. The post must fuse with the jawbone so it is firmly anchored in position. Once this process is complete, an abutment is attached to the post. An "abutment" is the structure that supports the crown. The dental crown is then screwed or cemented to the abutment. While dental implants may need periodic adjustments, they can last a lifetime when properly placed and cared for over time.

What are Dental Bridges?

A dental bridge literally bridges the gap that is created due to tooth loss. A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap -- these anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth -- and a false tooth or teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants. In addition to strengthening a damaged tooth, bridges and crowns can be used to improve a tooth’s appearance, shape, alignment and dental occlusion (bite). Gaps left by missing teeth can cause the remaining teeth to shift, which can result in a bad bite. Bridges and crowns help prevent this from happening.