People often wonder what the difference is between a dental bridge vs implant. Here at Healthy Smiles of Staten Island, we've been asked this question hundreds if not thousands of times as we help our patients. Today, we want to give you the knowledge you need to understand the difference between these two dental procedures so you can decide which one is right for you.
Dental bridges and implants essentially do the same thing, but they way in which they do it is different. It's important to understand these differences - at least on a basic level - for you to work with your dentist to decide which procedure is the most beneficial to you and your specific situation. So let's take a look at what each of these procedures are and how they differ.
A bridge is a fixed dental restoration, also called a prosthesis, used to replace one or more missing teeth by joining an artificial tooth definitively to adjacent teeth. Let's talk about what that means in plain English.
A dental bridge procedure replaces missing teeth by permanently attaching replacement teeth to the existing teeth on either side of the area where the teeth are missing. To do this, the neighboring teeth are ground down to narrow cylinders. Then, they are used as anchors to which the porcelain teeth are affixed. This is a procedure that has been around for decades, and we consider it to be outdated, avoiding it whenever possible.
We avoid dental bridges because it requires us to modify existing healthy teeth. Attaching a bridge requires taking perfectly healthy teeth and grinding them away to a fraction of their former size in order to affix the bridge, which can lead to other dental issues down the line.
The difference between a dental bridge vs implant is like comparing a wagon to a car. They both get you to where you're going, but one of them does it much more effectively. Unlike dental bridges that require us to grind away healthy teeth, dental implants address the missing teeth and only the missing teeth.
Dental implants involve placing an implant in the jaw itself to which we anchor the porcelain replacement teeth. To most people, this might sound scary, but in reality, it's the far better option. The abutment or "connector" holds the tooth or teeth securely in place without damaging the healthy teeth surrounding the area. In addition, the implant actually stimulates the bone tissue to prevent the bone loss that occurs over time in the absence of the tooth's roots.
In almost all cases, implants are superior to bridges. We use the word "almost" because nothing is ever cut and dry in the medical world. That being said, in 99% of the cases we see, implants are the preferred method. So why are implants so superior to bridges?
We can most clearly see the difference between a dental bridge vs implant in older patients who have had bridges for years or decades. These patients almost always have issues that have been re-occuring for years. We'll see things like bridges coming loose, loosening of the fit, and other such issues related to the connection of the implant to the surrounding teeth. In most cases, these issues can be resolved - at least for a while - however, the patients invariably come back to have the same correction done again.
Dental implants do away with all of that. Once the implant is in place, it's there for life. There are no fit issues, no issues with loosening of the bridge, or problems with the surrounding teeth that had to be ground down to place the bridge. The implants only address the missing teeth. Nothing else is change in the mouth in any way. This produces a final result that is durable and reliable with none of the future headaches associated with bridges.
At Healthy Smiles of Staten Island, we pride ourselves on having the best implant dentist in Staten Island. Dr. Cipriano is a master of both the technical and aesthetic sides of dental implants, giving patients beautiful smiles without the long-term downsides of dental bridges. If you want to know more about a dental bridge vs implant before making your final decision on how best to proceed with your partial tooth loss, make an appointment with us today.