Tooth Replacement Options – Dental Implants or Dental Bridge?
Living with missing natural teeth is not easy. Not only eating and speaking become difficult, but the smile and looks are also affected. If you have lost some of your natural teeth, and you want a tooth replacement option but are not sure whether to choose a bridge or an implant, then this article is for you. This article provides a detailed comparison between teeth bridges and implants and will help you in deciding which option is best for you.
What are Dental Bridges?
A dental bridge works in a similar way to an architectural bridge. It is a fixed dental appliance used for the replacement of two or more adjacent missing natural teeth. Dental bridges attach to the natural teeth present on either side of the gap by using an adhesive cement. At Centrasota Dental, we offer highly esthetic and durable bridges prepared from metallic alloys, porcelain or a combination of both (metal fused to porcelain).
Dental Bridge Procedure
Fabrication of tooth bridges are generally carried out in the following steps:
- Initial Consultation – First, we’ll perform a detailed examination of your teeth and overall dental health. Afterward, we will prepare a comprehensive treatment plan to replace your missing teeth with bridges, while considering your dental health status and needs.
- Preparing the Supporting Teeth – We’ll then prepare the natural teeth on both sides of the gap by slightly removing a thin layer of natural tooth structure. We will prepare the teeth in such a way that they allow for the attachment of crowns that support the bridge.
- Making an Impression of your Teeth – Next, we will make an impression of your teeth, which we will then send to the laboratory for fabrication of the prosthesis.
- Attaching the Bridge – We’ll first try the prepared bride on your teeth without cementation, to assess the fit and aesthetics. Once satisfied, it will be permanently attached to the supporting teeth with a cement.
Different Types of Dental Bridges
There are three main types of tooth bridges:
- Conventional Bridges – These are the most common types of bridges used in dentistry. In these bridges, we attach the artificial teeth to crowns that rest on prepared natural teeth on both sides of the gap. Conventional bridges possess sufficient strength and can even replace molar teeth.
- Cantilever Bridges – Unlike the conventional bridges, cantilever bridges fix to natural teeth only at one end. That is why they are not as strong as conventional bridges, and are mostly used to replace front teeth which do not have to bear excessive biting forces.
- Maryland Bridges – These bridges require minimal preparation of the adjacent natural teeth. In fact, Maryland bridges contain metallic wings on both sides, which attach to the inner surfaces of supporting teeth with a dental cement.
How Much Does a Dental Bridge Cost?
The cost of bridges varies according to the number of teeth that need replacement, as well as the material used for fabrication.
- Cost of Traditional and Cantilever Bridges – Generally, a three-unit traditional or cantilever bridge cost around $1,500-4,500. A cantilever bridge replaces a single missing tooth. Additional costs are incurred which the addition of each false tooth.
- Cost of Maryland Bridges – A Maryland bridge has two metal wings that replace a single missing tooth. This can cost around $1,000-2,500 per false tooth.
Sometimes, teeth require additional procedures before bridges can be prepared. For example, in some cases, we need to restore supporting teeth with a filling material before attaching a bridge.
Call our dental care team at 320-252-3330 for costs and payment options.
Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges
Pros of Dental Bridges:
- Simple Procedure – The procedure for the preparation of supporting teeth and attachment of bridges is quite simple and takes very little time. After a clinical examination, we will prepare your teeth in the first appointment, and then attach your bridges in the next sitting.
- Cost-effective – In comparison to dental implants, teeth bridges offer a reliable and less-expensive option for replacement of missing teeth.
- Insurance Coverage – most dental insurance plans in the US cover replacement of missing teeth with porcelain, metallic or porcelain fused to metal bridges.
Cons of Dental Bridges:
- Aesthetics – Despite the excellent appearance of the artificial teeth used in bridges, their aesthetics are inferior to those of the dental implants.
- Need for Replacement – Teeth bridges tend to last for a very long time if looked after properly. However, in some cases, they may need replacement after 7-10 years of service.
- Less Tooth Conservation – For the attachment of bridges, adjacent natural teeth need preparation, which requires sacrificing a healthy tooth structure.
- Need for Maintenance – The success of dental bridges depends upon the health of teeth which are supporting them. Therefore, teeth bridges require extra care in terms of regular oral hygiene maintenance and dental checkup visits.
What are Dental Implants?
An implant is a root-shaped metallic fixture placed surgically inside the jaw bone, serving as an artificial root. Unlike teeth bridges, dental implants derive their support and retention directly from the embedded bone.
Pros and Cons of Dental Implants
Pros of Dental Implants
- Durability – Dental implants are prepared from very high-quality materials. Therefore, they have excellent strength and provide lifelong clinical service.
- Aesthetics – Missing teeth replaced with dental implants look good and natural. That is why they are one of the most esthetic tooth replacement options.
- No Maintenance Required – Unlike dental bridges, dental implants require the same maintenance and care as natural teeth. If you simply brush and floss your teeth regularly, you will not have any problem with your implant-supported artificial teeth.
- Conservative Replacement Option – Placement of dental implants does not require preparation of the adjacent teeth. In addition, dental implants tend to preserve the thickness and quality of the surrounding jaw bone. Therefore, they are more tooth conservative in comparison to teeth bridges.
Cons of Dental Implants
- Surgical Procedure – The procedure for placement of dental implants is more complicated than tooth bridges. Also, the procedure requires many months to complete and the patient has to live without an artificial tooth during the healing period.
- Relatively Expensive – In comparison to tooth bridges, dental implants are a costly procedure. However, it is only a one-time cost that provides a permanent and life-long replacement option for your missing teeth.
- Limited Insurance Coverage – Unfortunately, not all dental insurance plans cover tooth replacement with dental implants. Therefore, in most cases, the only reliable tooth replacement option covered insurance plans are dental bridges.
Why Centrasota Dental?
Even though we offer both tooth replacement options (bridges and implants), they differ significantly from each other based on their method of preparation and indications. It’s never easy to find the right dental practice which provides high quality dental services under one roof. If you live or work near St. Cloud, MN, the good news is that you can get the best dental advice and the best cosmetic or restorative dental services at Centrasota Dental. Dr. Congdon is not only a well known and reputed dentist in St. Cloud, MN, he also offers many years of experience in dental treatment. He has undergone specialized training as a Prosthodontist, which means that he is among the best dentists in St. Cloud, MN if you need a tooth replacement. To ease our valued patients, we accept almost all major credit cards, and dental insurance plans in the US.
Still undecided on whether to get a bridge or implant?
Call 320-252-3330 and speak to a Specialist today!