Dental implant vs bridge is a dilemma many are faced with after losing a tooth.
While a bridge may seem like the faster, easier and less expensive choice, here's why an implant is better in most cases.
While bridges can be very attractive, they are still three or more teeth fused together. It looks better when teeth are individual units.
It's the way God made them, after all :)
Implants allow teeth to be replaced one at a time and are the most attractive way to replace a tooth.
Dental implants are the most conservative and non invasive choice.
A bridge requires the two adjacent teeth to be drilled and crowned as described in this article.
All the enamel and some of the dentin is removed so the bridge can be attached and the replacement tooth supported.
If one of those two anchor teeth gets a cavity, the entire bridge may need to be replaced.
Once teeth are lost, bone slowly re-sorbs. After a few years of bone gradually shrinking, the bridge may have a gap between the artificial tooth and your gums and not look as nice.
Dental implant failures do happen in rare cases but dental implants are one of the most predictable and reliable dental treatments.
Because bridges are fused, it is impossible to floss in the traditional way. If flossing wasn't already hard enough, try flossing under a bridge.
A plastic loop is used to thread the floss up and under the bridge (or down and under for lower teeth). It's difficult and easy to get frustrated and give up. Thank goodness for Waterpiks :)
Watch this video demonstration:
There are some scenarios than make the choice of dental implant vs bridge less obvious.
A bridge could be a better choice if you...
Having a bone graft or sinus lift are two ways of adding bone to support an implant. A bone graft or sinus lift add to the cost of a dental implant and make it take even longer. For some, the need for these extra procedures, tips the scales in favor of a bridge.
Sometimes a bridge does more than just replace a missing tooth.
If the adjacent teeth have cavities or very large fillings and will eventually need crowns, a bridge makes more sense because it solves three problems at once.
It replaces a missing tooth, and strengthens the two adjacent teeth.