If you are missing a permanent tooth, you are not alone. In fact, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, adults 20 to 64 years have an average of 25.5 remaining teeth (a full mouth is typically 32 teeth). If you are one of the many Americans missing a tooth, you will likely consider tooth replacement options.

After all, the longer you wait to replace your tooth, the more susceptible you are to other health issues such as gum disease, heart disease, diabetes, and even various forms of cancer. But the multiple options you have available to you can be confusing. We’ve made it a bit easier by outlining what you need to know about your bridge vs. implant tooth replacement option.

Bridge vs. Implant: That is the Question

Let’s start by clarifying the difference between these two options. First, a dental bridge is a custom-made replacement option for your mouth, designed to fill the space where one or more teeth are missing. Think of these as false teeth held in place by the teeth surrounding the missing tooth. On the other hand, a dental implant is surgically implanted into your jawbone and functions as the root of your missing tooth.

Let’s dig into this a bit further.

What You Should Know About Dental Bridges

Dental bridges have the following benefits.

  • Usually covered in full or partially by dental insurance
  • Less up front cost vs. dental implants—the specific cost will depend on the type of bridge you receive, the material used, and the extensiveness of the procedure
  • No bone grafting or invasive surgery required
  • Takes only two visits to the dentist spread out over a couple of weeks

Dental bridges have some cons too.

  • Though bridges can last more than ten years, they usually have to be replaced every five to seven years
  • Bridges look natural up front but can lose that natural appearance with age
  • It is possible that the teeth surrounding the bridge can become damaged over time
  • Your risk of cavities and tooth decay in the surrounding teeth are higher
  • Bridges require extra care and attention when cleaning

What You Should Know About Dental Implants

Just as with dental bridges, there are some benefits and cons that come with dental implants.

Dental implant benefits include the following.

  • Implants last longer than bridges, often up to 15 years
  • They look more natural than bridges—they look, feel, and function just like your natural teeth
  • No damage is caused to the surrounding teeth
  • Implants have a very high success rate—98.6% after 5 years, according to one study.
  • To take care of your implants, brush, floss, and rinse as part of an excellent at-home oral care routine
  • Many patients view dental implants as the new dentures

Dental implants have some perceived drawbacks as well.

  • Not as likely to be covered by insurance
  • The up front cost is higher, and similar to dental bridges, the specific cost for your dental implants will depend on the type of implants you receive, the material used (titanium is used in most implants), and the extensiveness of the procedure
  • The dental implant placement process can take up to six months and spans several appointments
  • There is the risk of surgical complications (though this is rare)

Still wondering how to decide between a bridge vs. an implant? We understand this is a big decision and a lot to consider. When deciding to get a bridge vs. implant, consult with your dentist and consider the information we shared above. Be sure to also watch our patient education video titled bridge vs. implant. Then, consider your budget, how many teeth you need to replace, and the state of your overall health.

The best candidates for dental implants are those in good overall health with healthy jawbones that are free of decay. After all, your jawbone needs to be healthy enough to support the implant. And if your jawbone is not adequately suited for implants, then a dental bridge or traditional dentures might be the right choice for you.

Partner with Metro East Dental Care to decide for yourself—bridge vs. implant.

While we hope that the various pros and cons we provided above helped to provide some integral information about bridges and implants, we’re sure you have additional questions. So, whether you’re looking for bridges or dental implants in Granite City, IL, we can help you with the answers you need to make the right decision about your tooth replacement. Contact us today.