Dental implants and bridges are both very common solutions for missing teeth. Approximately 65% of Canadians have at least one dental bridge, while about 35% of Canadians have at least one dental implant.
Both dental bridges and implants will replace missing teeth or a single missing tooth, and restore a more natural function for eating and speaking, as well as provide a more natural-looking appearance.
There are many benefits to both restorations, compared to using dentures or simply leaving a gap in teeth. However, there are some key differences between these two restorations and the advantages they offer, too.
What Is The Difference Between A Dental Implant and A Dental Bridge?
They are both more like your natural teeth and are much more comfortable and secure than dentures, and both replace missing teeth, but they are different restorations.
A dental implant is a titanium screw inserted into the bone where the missing tooth used to be. The screw fuses to the bone, to form a secure artificial tooth root. An abutment is added, which attaches the tooth replacement crown to the screw. This provides an artificial tooth which looks and acts just like a natural tooth.
This false tooth root allows natural chewing action which stimulates the jawbone to keep it healthy. The force and pressure on your jaw helps prevent atrophy and preserve bone structure.
Dental bridges fill in a gap created by a missing tooth or teeth. The adjacent teeth are prepared and shaved down very slightly, with a dental crown, or cap, placed on top to strengthen them. The bridge is a custom-made line of one or more artificial teeth to fill the gap created by missing teeth. The tooth bridge is cemented onto the crowns on the surrounding teeth.
Since the bridge fills the gap, the placement of remaining natural teeth are held. Bridges replace the surface, visible portions of teeth, but do not replace the root portions of those teeth.
Average Costs Of Dental Implants vs Dental Bridges
The average cost of a dental bridge in Canada is about $2,500 to $3,500, while the average cost of a dental implant in Canada is $3,000 to $6,000.
Success Rate Of A Dental Implant Procedure vs. A Dental Bridge
Although the success rates for both dental bridges and dental implants are high, dental implants do have a slightly higher success rate.
The success rate of dental bridges in Canada is 90%. The success rate of dental implants in Canada is slightly higher, at an impressive 95%.
Life Span Of Dental Implants vs. Dental Bridges
On average, dental bridges last five to seven years before needing to be replaced. Dental implants, on the other hand, last significantly longer and will last about ten to 15 years before they need to be replaced. This extended longevity of implants makes them the more affordable choice long term.
Dependency On Surrounding Teeth
Dental bridges depend on the health and strength of the teeth on either side of them. For those who have gum disease, tooth decay, or other concerns that may weaken these supporting teeth, additional treatments may be needed before the teeth are strong enough to support a dental bridge. Alternatively, a dental implant or two may be used to secure a bridge.
Although these other treatments will likely be desirable to strengthen remaining natural teeth, the success of dental implants does not depend on other teeth.
Oral Health Benefits
Important differences in impacts on oral health separate dental bridges and dental implants.
Spacing Of Teeth
With tooth loss, the remaining natural teeth can shift because of the space created. Both a dental bridge and an implant will help prevent teeth from moving, by acting as space maintainers.
Preservation Of Bone
With even a single tooth loss, bone loss begins immediately, and other side effects can occur. This can cause healthy teeth to become loose and even lost, as well. Gum recession also tends to begin as a result.
A key benefit of dental implants is that they discourage bone loss and encourage jawbone and gum health. A dental implant acts like a tooth root, fusing with the bone. Once it has healed and the crown or false tooth is added, the more natural stimulation of chewing prevents bone loss, so your jaw stays healthy.
On the other hand, a bridge simply attaches to adjacent teeth, so gum recession and bone loss can still occur. Dental bridges can put a strain on the adjacent teeth, causing damage and possibly requiring them to be extracted, contributing further to the potential loss of bone mass. This is why sometimes, your dentist will recommend using dental implants to secure a bridge.
The artificial roots from implants fuse with your jawbone for a very secure base for false teeth. They are strong and secure, and the closest thing to natural teeth. You do not need to worry at all about them slipping or creating embarrassment. They also require no special care at all other than the regular, good oral hygiene of brushing and flossing you use on your existing teeth.
Bridges, however, while much more secure than dentures, are prosthetics that can cause problems to nearby teeth and may have some movement. They are removable, so there is a potential for falling out or moving when eating or speaking. If abutment teeth are not strong enough, there is an increased potential for issues with functionality.
Dentistry on Wellington provides a range of dental services, including dental implants and bridges. We are experienced in the dental implant procedure, giving you a permanent solution to your teeth loss, and the look and feel of replacement teeth that are like your originals.