Are you in a dilemma over whether to choose a bridge or implant for a front tooth? Both are options for replacing a missing tooth but in order to decide which is best for you, it helps to know the pros and cons of each one. So, let’s dive in and take a closer look at what each one is, together with the pros and cons of each option.
Firstly, what is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is commonly used to close the gap between one or more missing teeth. It involves placing two dental crowns over the abutment teeth (those at either end of the missing tooth gap) to support a bridge which contains a false tooth that closes the gap and restores your smile.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is inserted into the jawbone at the site of the missing tooth gap. Made from titanium it fuses with the surrounding bone to make a strong platform that can support a dental crown and close the tooth gap.
Bridge or implant for front tooth – What differences are there?
Both tooth replacement options provide good options for restoring your smile and with today’s modern dental crowns look extremely natural. However, there are several differences which stand them apart from each other.
Length of procedure
The dental bridge procedure usually involves two (sometimes more) dental visits. The first is to prepare the abutment teeth (those either side of the gap) and to take impressions. The second visit is to fit the permanent bridge. So overall, your missing tooth can be replaced in a matter of a few weeks.
Patients looking to get a dental implant, however, often have to wait several months from start to finish for the procedure to be completed. Not only is surgery required to place the implant into the jawbone but in many cases, patients have to wait several weeks for the natural process of osseointegration to occur (where the surrounding bone grows over the implant) before they can have their restoration completed with a dental crown.
A fixed dental bridge needs replacing every 5-7 years although it may last up to 10 years provided good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups are maintained.
A dental implant, on the other hand, is a permanent solution to missing teeth since it becomes part of the body, and as such, has the potential to last a person’s lifetime.
If you didn’t know, when a tooth is lost, the bone that once held it in place begins to absorb back into the body. Over time this affects the shape of the jaw which is why both a dental bridge and dentures need regular adjustments to retain their fit.
A tooth implant, on the other hand, acts as an artificial tooth root and stimulates the bone to keep it healthy. This action prevents any bone tissue from being reabsorbed back into the body. As a result, the jaw retains its shape.
Ease of maintenance
Food particles can get stuck beneath a fixed bridge so it’s important to brush and use a special floss threader to keep the area as clean as possible to avoid bad breath and infection. It’s also essential to visit your dentist for a professional clean every six months to remove any plaque that has accumulated which if left, could result in gum disease.
Since there is little enamel left on the abutment teeth, it’s critical to ensure that these don’t fall foul of decay, infection, or gum disease. Should these teeth be lost, then your bridge could be lost too. A wider gap may necessitate a partial denture instead of a dental bridge.
A dental implant, on the other hand, is easier to keep clean just with daily brushing and flossing combined with regular dental check-ups and cleans.
Foods to avoid
While dental bridges and crowns can’t decay, the teeth that are beneath them can. For this reason, it’s a good idea to cut back on sugary foods and be vigilant with cleaning.
If there is one type of food that’s best avoided with a dental bridge it’s sticky chewy foods like caramels and chewing gums which can get trapped beneath your bridge. You may also want to be cautious when eating crunchy fruit and raw vegetables like apples and carrots.
With a tooth implant, you can eat whatever you like – there are no such restrictions.
A tooth implant looks more natural than a dental bridge. Furthermore, it’s stronger and more stable enabling you to smile with confidence. Unlike a bridge, a dental implant stands alone and doesn’t rely on the support of adjacent teeth.
Often, it’s the cost of a tooth implant that puts people off from having the treatment. However, given the fact that a bridge is likely to need replacing after 7 years, then taking the potential lifespan of an implant into account, the cost may actually be lower in the long term.
If you are considering a single dental implant then why not take advantage of our free implant consultation and CBCT scan. We use digital dental implants which are safer, faster, and more accurate for our patients. Should you have a couple or more missing front teeth in close proximity of each other, then we can solve the problem with an implant-retained bridge.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.