Dental Implants vs. Bridges

Jamie J. Alexander on August 24, 2015

At Jamie J. Alexander, DDS, we are committed to helping patients have the restored smiles that rejuvenate their lives and give them confidence to enjoy it. For many years, conventional dental bridges have been the standard treatment option for multiple missing teeth, but I now recommend implant-supported restorations because, in almost all circumstances, securing prostheses with biocompatible titanium dental implants is today’s best solution for patients with larger gaps in their smiles.

Do You Have One Missing Tooth or Multiple Missing Adjacent Teeth?

Even a single missing tooth can lead to orthodontic issues, gum disease, bone loss, and other issues. Losing a row of teeth only increases the tendency for these problems to occur. Replacing multiple missing teeth with a traditional bridge or dental implant supported prosthesis will not only enhance the appearance of your smile and boost your self-esteem, but will also allow you to eat and talk more easily, prevent bacteria from collecting in the gap left by missing teeth and stop your other teeth from migrating out of position into the gap.

Patients readily seek the replacement of missing teeth for cosmetic reasons. If they are missing one or more back teeth, they are not always in a hurry to replace them. This is because they don’t realize how quickly this will affect their chewing, occlusion, and jaw comfort. If you are missing back teeth, your eating forces will shift to your remaining teeth, and you are likely to feel discomfort, experience movement of the teeth, and might even initiate fast wear and breakage.

If you have an aging traditional bridge, implant restoration may be in your best interest and more in keeping with optimal conservation of healthy tooth structure than replacing your bridge.

Traditional Dental Bridges

A conventional dental bridge is a multiple-tooth prosthesis held in place by two crowns. The two teeth to receive the crowns must be healthy. Some of the healthy tooth structure will have to be removed in order to place the crowns, and the bridge will put some pressure on the crowned teeth. The bridge will sit on top of the gum tissue. It will not stimulate the underlying jawbone. The lack of stimulation leads to bone re-absorption, which can change your facial appearance, limit the fit of the bridge, and limit the function of your mouth.

Implant Treatment Options

As an alternative to traditional dental bridges, I may recommend one of two implant-supported treatment options—either individual dental implants for each missing tooth or an implant-supported bridge. Individual dental implants provide an extremely secure hold for restorations and exercise the underlying jawbone just as the natural tooth roots would.

An implant-supported bridge is similar to a traditional bridge, except that implant-supported crowns hold it in place rather than healthy teeth. I sometimes recommend a multi-unit implant-supported bridge for patients who lack the necessary jawbone tissue to hold individual implants or wish to undergo a less intensive placement procedure, as only two dental implants to needed to complete this treatment.

Whenever the patient is a good implant candidate, I recommend the patient consider fully the benefits of this option. The function of implant-support restorations is stronger and more long-lasting, and the restoration provides a less cosmetic, more realistic appearance. Patients say they feel, look and function as if their replacement teeth were natural.

Let Me Help You Understand Your Options

I have tremendous compassion and understanding for people who are seeking restoration of their mouths and smile. Replacing one or multiple missing teeth will enable you to enjoy the complete function of your mouth so you can eat, speak, and smile more comfortably and confidently. An examination of your mouth and diagnostic x-ray imaging will enable me to determine if dental implant therapy is an appropriate option for you.

I offer a no charge initial consultation so you can learn more about the benefits of dental implants versus traditional crown and bridge treatment in the context of your own unique mouth and find out what would be involved in your choice of treatment.