What’s the Difference Between a Bridge and a Dental Implant?

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If you have lost one or more of your adult teeth, you want to replace them as soon as possible to prevent shifting of other teeth and tooth decay. The two most popular options for replacing teeth are the dental implant and dental bridge. Both have their pros and cons, so you just have to pick the solution that’s best for you!

Dental Implant

A dental implant is made of titanium and is implanted into the jawbone to serve as a new root for the tooth. A temporary crown is then placed on top of the new tooth. The titanium cylinder will bind with the bone tissue to create this new root. Because the implant binds to the bone tissue, it keeps the bone strong and healthy.

One positive reason for choosing a dental implant: it lasts around 15 years and feels and functions like a real tooth, meaning you can brush and floss like normal. The major drawback with a dental implant is that it requires surgery, which can take three or more visits to the dentist. The healing process can also take a little while — from 3 weeks to 9 months, depending on which tooth was lost and the individual’s dental care routine. Dental implants can be expensive; the average cost is around $4,000, and the surgery is only partially covered by insurance.

Dental Bridge

A dental bridge is when a pair of crowns are installed onto the teeth beside the artificial tooth, creating a bridge to hold it in place. This means that the artificial tooth is not actually implanted into the jaw. Because the procedure is somewhat simple, a bridge can usually be completed in two visits. Bridges are less painful and less expensive. Most crowns will need to be replaced somewhere between 5 and 7 years after the procedure. A bridge is also low risk because if the bridge fails, it is easily replaceable.

Although bridges are a great option for replacing a tooth, the bone tissue under the crown can move and create instability under the artificial tooth. You also run the risk of possibly damaging the natural teeth beside the artificial tooth. People with bridges sometimes get additional cavities or decay. Dental bridges also need a special type of floss and toothbrush. A bridge can cost anywhere from $700 to $1,500, which is more affordable than the cost of the typical dental implant, and is typically covered by insurance.

Still not sure? Schedule a consultation with Klooster Family Dentistry. Based on which tooth is missing, we can discuss which option works best for you.


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