Tooth Replacement Options – Dental Implants or Dental Bridge?

Living with missing natural teeth is not easy. Not only eating and speaking becomes difficult, but the smile and looks are also affected. If you have lost some of your natural teeth, and you’re 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.


Dental Bridge vs Implant


What are Dental Bridges?

A dental bridge works in a similar way to an architectural bridge. It is a fixed dental appliance that is used for replacement of two or more adjacent missing natural teeth. Dental bridges are attached 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 which are 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. Afterwards, 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. The teeth will be prepared in such a way that they allow for the attachment of crowns which support the bridge.
  • Making an Impression of your Teeth –  next, we will make an impression of your teeth, which will be sent 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 types of bridges, the artificial teeth are attached to crowns which rest on prepared natural teeth on both sides of the gap. Conventional bridges possess sufficient strength, and they can even be used to replace molar teeth.
  • Cantilever Bridges – unlike the conventional bridges, cantilever bridges are fixed to natural teeth only at one end. That is why, they are not as strong as the 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 are attached 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 which need to be replaced, as well as the material that is used for fabrication.

  • Cost of Traditional and Cantilever Bridges – Generally, a three-unit traditional or cantilever bride which replaces a single missing tooth, costs around $1,500-4,500. Additional costs are incurred which the addition of each false tooth.
  • Cost of Maryland Bridges – a Maryland bridge having two metal wings that replaces a single missing tooth, can cost around $1,000-2,500 per false tooth.

Sometimes, additional procedures may be required before bridges can be prepared. For example, in some cases, supporting teeth need to be restored with a filling material before attaching a bridge.

Call us at 320-252-3330  for costs and payment options.  


Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges

Pros of Dental Bridges
  • Simple Procedure – the procedure for preparation of supporting teeth and attachment of bridges is quite simple, and takes very less 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 they are looked after properly. However, in some cases, they may need to replace after 7-10 years of service.
  • Less Tooth Conservation – for the attachment of bridges, adjacent natural teeth need to be prepared, which requires sacrificing 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 that is placed surgically inside the jaw bone, and serves as an artificial root. Unlike teeth bridges, dental implants derive their support and retention directly from the bone in which they are embedded.


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 that are replaced with dental implants look good and natural. That is why they are considered as the most esthetic tooth replacement option.
  • No Maintenance Required – unlike dental bridges, dental implants require same maintenance and care as the 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 that 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 which 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 in terms of 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 advise and avail 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 also undergone specialized training as a Prosthodontist, which means that he is among the best dentist in St. Cloud MN if you need to get your teeth replaced. To facilitate our valued patients, we accept almost all major credit cards, and dental insurance plans in the US. Still undecided – bridge or implant?


Call 320-252-3330  and speak to a Specialist today!