Bridges vs. Implants: Which is Best?

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There have been great strides made in the field of dentistry in the last 30 years. Dental patients that have lost teeth can now choose from several great options to restore their smiles. Dental bridges have been used for decades to fill in the gaps in your smile, while implants are a newer method that has been increasing in popularity in recent years. 

But what’s the difference between a dental bridge vs. an implant and which treatment option is right for you? Most dentists including Dr. V. Lynn Morgan of Severna Park, MD prefer implants due to their strength, longevity and ease of care. However, numerous factors need to be taken into consideration when making the decision including if your tooth loss is recent or happened years ago.

Practical Reasons for Both

In years past, a dental bridge was usually the only choice available choice to replace a missing tooth. However, a bridge requires alterations to the adjacent teeth in your mouth. When installing a dental bridge, those teeth must be prepared by removing the enamel in order to attach the bridge to them. With dental implants, Dr. Morgan embeds the replacement tooth directly into the jawbone with an implant screw resulting in a prosthetic tooth that is stronger and permanent. 

However, a dental bridge may be the right solution for you if the adjacent teeth already have  fillings or are damaged and may need crowns or caps in the future. However, for implants, if the tooth or teeth were lost some time ago, the bone tissue in the jaw may have deteriorated and bone graft surgeries will be necessary before placement. The advantages and disadvantages to both procedures can ultimately be discussed with Dr. Morgan during your consultation.

Your Oral Care Routine

A dental implant usually makes oral hygiene simpler than with a bridge. Although dental bridges are anchored in the mouth and don’t require removal for cleaning, their construction involves at least three crowns connected together to fill the space of the missing tooth. The nature of this design can make brushing and flossing more challenging, so it is important to be meticulous when cleaning. Flossing, in particular, will require threading the floss under the bridge to prevent gum disease from setting in. In contrast, implants replace teeth individually without affecting other teeth as they are directly embedded into your jaw. You can brush and floss around an implant as you would your natural tooth and may even forget you have an implant at all.

Durability

Dental implants are more durable than bridges and can potentially last a lifetime with careful use and proper care. The titanium implant screw is placed into the jawbone  and bonds naturally with your jawbone, It mostly immune to decay because it is made of such strong material but it’s still important to brush and floss around the crown atop it to keep your gums and neighboring teeth healthy. If a dental implant is properly cared for, it can last a lifetime with only the crown — the false tooth mounted on top — needing to be replaced. 

Crowns can last 15-20 years or even a little longer with proper care but will sometimes need to be replaced, while the average lifespan of a dental bridge is approximately 10 years. When the bridge fails, the entire structure will need to be replaced. The abutment teeth supporting the bridge that are under crowns will continue to be vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease because a portion of your natural tooth remains alive underneath.

Cost Comparison

While the price tag on the dental bridge is less, it will need to be replaced at some point in the future — possibly multiple times depending on how early in life you get it. This means you’ll be paying for it several times. Implants – from preparation to final placement – may seem more expensive, but can actually save you money over time. And many dental insurance providers now pay for a portion of or all of the steps involved in the implant process.

Dental Implants in Severna Park, MD

No matter which option you and your dentist decide is right for you, they are both preferable to living with being embarrassed and self-conscious about your smile or having difficulty chewing. If you are considering dental implants, you need to see the best implant dentist possible.

Dr. V. Lynn Morgan in Severna Park, MD is a skilled professional with over 25 years in practice. For a consultation with Dr. Morgan about dental implants or any other dental concern, please call (410) 415-9015 or schedule an appointment online today!