To Bridge or Implant: What’s the Difference?

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For anyone who has lost or broken a tooth, you know how anxiety inducing this can be. Our smile is usually the first thing people notice about us, and when there are obvious gaps or chips, it can create embarrassment. In the past, one of the only permanent choices was getting a dental bridge. Today though, you can also replace missing teeth with dental implants, also known as prosthodontics. Both have wonderful aesthetic benefits for the patient and have made great improvements over the years. Deciding which procedure is best for you usually depends on candidacy and overall oral health.

What is a bridge?

A bridge is technically an oral prosthesis that is permanently attached to surrounding natural teeth. It’s called a bridge, because it bridges the space from the missing tooth, between two or more natural teeth. The procedure is simple. First, any remainder of the broken or missing tooth is removed and then the two teeth on either side are filed to accept the prosthesis. The bridge is then anchored to the surrounding teeth with porcelain crowns.

A dental bridge allows natural-looking teeth that work perfectly. It is a fairly simple procedure and does not require surgery. Since a bridge is fixed in place, it will not slip or move when chewing or speaking. The drawbacks of a bridge include bone and gum shrinkage over time, which can eventually lead to facial collapse. Also, the anchor teeth become prone to bacteria, decay and periodontal disease.

A bridge is your best option if you do not have the adequate bone tissue for dental implants. Also, the surrounding teeth must be strong and healthy to avoid future complications.

What is an implant?

Getting an implant is more extensive than getting a bridge and requires dental surgery. A titanium implant is placed in the tooth’s bone pocket, where the root of the tooth used to be. Over time, the titanium fuses with the jawbone, creating a permanent and stable fixture. The implant is then completed with a porcelain cap that is matched in color and shape to your teeth.

There are far more benefits to getting an implant than drawbacks. Implants prevent the bone and gum shrinkage that can sometimes come with a bridge. Also, they can easily be replaced if damaged. Implants come with specific candidacy requirements. The patient must have sufficient jawbone material and good dental and overall health. Also, an implant is not recommended for smokers. While the procedure is lengthier and typically costs more than a bridge, the long-term results are worth the time and money.

When making the final decision whether to get a bridge or an implant, it’s best to come in and talk to us. We help you make the choice that will suite you best. No matter what, I guarantee natural and beautiful results. Contact our office to schedule you initial consultation today – (402) 331-2070, or visit our site at


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