Two of the most common restoration options for people who have lost a tooth are dental implants and dental bridges. While each option has their own pros and cons, how well do they compare to one another?
The first difference between a dental implant and a dental bridge is the method of placement. A dental implant requires between two to three surgeries. Over the course of these surgeries, the implant is drilled directly into the jawbone at the spot where your missing tooth was, and then a crown is placed atop the implant to act as your new tooth. Because the implant is drilled into your bone, it acts very almost exactly like the root of a natural tooth. The implant actually stimulates your bone and prevents future bone loss from occurring. With a bridge, a prosthetic tooth is placed where the missing tooth was and is supported on either side by the neighboring teeth. In order for the bridge to fit onto the neighboring teeth, these natural teeth must first be filed down substantially. Once the surrounding teeth have been prepared, they act as abutments for the prosthetic tooth between them. Nonetheless, because nothing is placed into the bone with a bridge, it unfortunately does not stimulate the jawbone the same way as an implant.
Another comparison is the length of time that the devices last. A dental implant can last a lifetime with the proper care. Even with the best care, a dental bridge usually lasts between five to 15 years.