Dental implants and dental bridges are both restorative dentistry treatments to replace missing teeth. But that’s where the similarities end. If you’re missing a tooth or teeth, and want to know more about these options, read on for the definitive guide to dental implants vs bridges, so that you can decide which option is best for you.

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant replaces missing teeth, and missing teeth roots. Dental implants require surgery. During the surgery, a biocompatible, titanium screw will be implanted in your jawbone. For the next several months, your gum tissue and jawbone will grow up and around the screw, much like tissue and jawbone grows around a natural tooth root. This will anchor the screw (implant) securely in place.

You’ll then return to the dentist to have a dental device known as an abutment placed on top of the screw. The job of the abutment is to secure the dental crown to the implant. Your final visit to complete dental implant treatment, will be to receive your new crown.

Pros and Cons of Dental Implants

The primary benefit of choosing dental implants to replace missing teeth is that they mimic the appearance and function of natural teeth. While it’s wonderful that implants look like natural teeth, their true value lies in how accurately they mimic the function of a natural tooth.

The screw serves as an artificial tooth root. Roots of teeth keep your jawbone strong. When you are missing teeth, your jawbone begins to recede and deteriorate. This can lead to a change in your facial structure, and result in a shrunken appearance that makes you look older than you are.

A second benefit of dental implants is their durability. With excellent oral hygiene and regular dental appointments, you can expect a dental implant to last decades. Many people get implants, and they last their entire life.

Dental implants are also easy to maintain. The do not attach to other teeth, so you can brush and floss the same way would with a natural tooth or a tooth that has a crown.

When it comes to the downside of implants, there aren’t many from an aesthetic or function standpoint. However, they do require more extensive treatment, including surgery. This means that it will take longer to complete treatment, often many months. Dental implants are also more expensive than dental bridges.

What is a Dental Bridge?

Dental bridges are popular restorative dentistry procedures to replace missing teeth. A dental bridge is an artificial tooth that is attached to crowns or your natural teeth on either side of a gap in your smile. In other words, a dental bridge is an artificial tooth that bridges the hole left by a missing tooth.

Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges

The primary benefit of a dental bridge, compared to a dental implant is affordability. Dental bridges do not require surgery, which saves money form the start. Dental bridges will also require fewer dental appointments, which will save money. A third reason people choose dental bridges is because treatment is completed much faster.

However, dental bridges cannot compete with dental implants in terms of maintaining jaw structure, and overall oral health. Because the bridge is not anchored into the jawbone, you should expect to continue to lose bone in your jaw. Dental bridges will also need to be replaced more frequently, as they are not as durable as dental implants.

Finally, dental bridges cause strain on the adjacent teeth. In some cases, perfectly healthy teeth adjacent to a gap need to be reshaped or fitted with crowns to support the bridge.

Does Insurance Cover a Bridge or Implant?

Dental insurance may cover part of the cost of a dental implant or a dental bridge, but often only if it’s due to facial trauma or injury. Even though both dental implants and bridges are restorative procedures, many insurance companies view them as elective cosmetic procedures. Before you begin treatment for either you should confirm what coverage is available for a bridge or implant.

If you don’t have dental insurance, or your treatment is not covered, your dentist will likely accept third party financing payments from companies such as CareCredit. If you don’t have insurance, inquire about a discount. Some dentists offer uninsured patients a discount on treatments and services.

Discuss Your Options with Your Dentist

When you meet with your dentist to begin planning your treatment for replacing missing teeth, be candid about your concerns, whether they are financial or aesthetic in nature. If you decide that you’d like to fix gaps with a dental bridge temporarily, before eventually getting an implant, that is certainly an option for many people. It is in your best interest to set a goal for implants at some point, because they are so beneficial for your overall health.

Schedule a Consultation for Dental Implants or Bridges in Diamond Bar

As a top top-reviewed family dentist, restorative dentist, and cosmetic dentist in Diamond Bar, Phillips Ranch Dental Group is housed in a modern, clean dental office that boasts all the latest technological equipment, including painless 3-D scanners, and digital X-rays. Phillips Ranch Dental Group provides both dental bridges and dental implants.

Whether you’re here for a preventative cleaning and exam, or you need to treat tooth decay with fillings, or you’re ready to do something about missing teeth, the goal of our practice is to ensure you are comfortable, relaxed, and completely satisfied with your dental care and treatments.

Phillips Ranch Dental Group is located at 750 N. Diamond Bar Blvd. We are open Monday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm; Tuesday from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm; Wednesday from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm; Thursday from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Friday from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, and on the third Saturday of each month from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. We are accepting new patients at our Diamond Bar dental practice. We accept insurance, and CareCredit. We accept all credit cards. Please call 909-860-0321 or request an appointment online.