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Dental Implants vs Dental Bridge

Dental implants and dental bridges are two very different forms of treatment which allow patients to replace one or more missing teeth. They’re two solutions which patients usually compare before getting onboard with either system. 

Understanding which tooth replacement solutions is better suited for your case will determine the long-term success of your treatment.

dental implants vs dental bridge

Dental Implant & Dental Bridge

Dental implants and bridges both provide popular alternatives to standard dentures to fill gaps caused by missing teeth.

Choosing the right tooth replacement treatment in consultation with your dentist is critical to ensure the best outcome – a confident smile and a healthy mouth.

You’ll also want a high level of comfort and convenience and a long-lasting solution that enables you to speak clearly and eat your favourite foods.

Bridges and implants are highly effective methods of tooth replacement but the one that’s right for you depends on several factors.

So, to give you an idea of whether dental implants or bridges might be better for you, we’ll look at some of the pros and cons of each system.

First, though, here’s a brief overview of dental implants and bridges to help you make an informed decision on which tooth replacement solution is right for you.

In this article, we’ll give you a no-frills breakdown of the pros and cons of both dental implants and dental bridges, so you can better understand each treatment before starting on your journey to a new and improved smile.

Overview of Both Tooth Replacement Solutions

dental implant patient in Singapore

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is usually made from titanium and forms an artificial tooth root.Biocompatible with bone structure, titanium has become the metal of choice for biomedical implants in all areas of the body.

The titanium screw is surgically inserted into jaw bone to support dentures or crowns – like tooth roots anchor natural teeth. A support is attached to the implant to anchor a crown. Implants can also provide a foundation for dentures or to support a bridge.

man with dental bridge in Singapore

What is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge does exactly what the name suggests: it bridges the gap caused by one or more missing teeth. Bridges are made of porcelain, alloys or gold or a mixture of these materials, and you can now also get zirconium bridges designed with 3D technology.

To replace a single missing tooth, the bridge is attached to adjacent teeth for support. If you have several missing teeth, dental implants are used to support the bridge.

Pros and Cons of Dental Implants

lady happy with her brand new dental implants

Advantages of Dental Implants

When considering the pros and cons of dental implants vs dental bridges, many people in Singapore favour implants because they feel and look just like natural teeth.

A further benefit of dental implants is their high level of functionality, and they also help to preserve facial structure by bonding with the jaw in a process called osseointegration. This fuses the bone and titanium screw into a single, solid unit and provides the stimulus needed for bone growth, without which the jaw will degenerate over time.

Another reason for choosing dental implants is that, unlike bridges, they don’t entail dental work on surrounding teeth.

Other advantages of dental implants include:

  • Implants can last a lifetime.
  • Multiple implants can be fitted during a single procedure.
  • High success rate.
  • You can brush and floss as normal.

In general, implants are suitable for anyone in good overall health whose jaw has fully developed.

Drawbacks of Dental Implants

  • More preparation, planning and treatment time than bridges.
  • More expensive than bridges.
  • If there is insufficient quality bone in the jaw, a graft may be necessary.
  • Implants require surgery.

Dental Implant Procedure

Dental implants can replace a single tooth or multiple teeth. Depending on your needs and requirements, your dentist will recommend the ideal type or dental implant to best address your condition. 

Your dentist will numb the area where the implant is to be placed and then remove gum tissue to expose the underlying bone.

A pilot hole is drilled half-way into the bone. After ensuring the alignment is correct, the dentist widens the hole to the required size, using larger drills.The implant is screwed into the bone and an implant cap is used to seal the area.

It may take several months for the gum tissue to heal sufficiently before a permanent crown or bridge can be fitted to replace the implant cap.

lady with dental implants smiling while writing on her red booklet

Am I A Suitable Candidate For Dental Implants?

Ideally, patients looking to get dental implants done should be in good general and oral health. There will need to adequate amounts of bone in your jaw in order to securely support the dental implant. Patients who do not have sufficient bone for implant placement may still be eligible for dental implant surgery but will require a sinus lift procedure or bone graft procedure to restore lost bone to the proposed implant site before proceeding with the actual implant placement.

Additionally, healthy gums that are free from gingivitis and periodontitis are essential for successful implant placements in the long term as dental implants are intimately connected with the gum tissue and fused to jaw bone in the mouth. 

Patients who are suffering from gum disease should address those issues before proceeding with dental implant surgery as gingivitis and periodontitis can cause dental implants to fail by preventing the implants from properly fusing to bone.

If you’re looking to understand more about dental implants or want to check if you’re a suitable candidate for dental implants. Contact us via our support hotline at 9007 1085 or email us at enquiry@nofrillsdental.com or message us directly. to get in touch with our dentists.

Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges

confident business man with dental bridge

Advantages of Dental Bridges

Before the introduction of dental implants, bridges were considered the best method of replacing teeth because they provide a non-removable solution compared with fixed dentures.

One advantage of bridges over implants is that it’s a non-surgical procedure that still gives you a natural appearance.

Other benefits of bridges include:

  • Less expensive than implants.
  • Stopping remaining teeth from moving out of position.
  • Effective distribution of bite pressure.
  • Restoring your smile and ability to eat and speak properly.
  • Maintaining facial shape.
  • Can replace up to 4 teeth with a single dental bridge.

A bridge may be your better option if a tooth or teeth have been missing for some time and the gum and bone have receded significantly.

Drawbacks of Dental Bridges

There are two main downsides to dental bridges:

  • The process may require removing a substantial amount of enamel from adjacent teeth.
  • Part of the natural tooth remains underneath a bridge, continuing to be susceptible to cavities and gum disease.
  • Does not prevent bone loss unlike dental implants.
  • Cannot to be used for non-sequential missing teeth unless used in conjunction with dental implants to anchor bridge in place.
  • Last up to 10-15 years. 

Dental Bridge Procedure

Getting a dental bridge usually takes a few visits to your dentist.

First appointment

Your dentist prepares the teeth on either side of the gap after administering a local anaesthetic. The procedure involves removing enamel to create room for a crown.

Impressions are then taken so the crowns and the bridge’s artificial tooth (pontic) or teeth can be made in a dental lab.

Aninitial bridge is placed to protect the exposed teeth and gums while your permanent bridge is being prepared.

Second appointment

The temporary bridge is removed and the new bridge checked and adjusted if necessary to achieve a good fit.

Further appointments

More visits may then be needed to check the fit of the bridge and your bite function.

happy man with dental bridge

Am I A Suitable Candidate For Dental Bridges?

Good candidates for dental bridges are patients who have one or more missing teeth that have fallen out or have been extracted but still have at least two strong and healthy teeth in the mouth on each side of the area where teeth are missing.

Patients should be in good general health and oral health before getting their dental bridges as gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis can infect and compromise integrity of the abutment (anchor teeth at the sides, holding the bridge in place) which can result in a failure of the dental bridge.

Patients suffering from gum disease should address their gum issues before proceeding with dental bridges.

Additionally, if the ‘anchor’ teeth are found to be weakened in any way or become infected due to tooth decay and cavities, then conventional dental bridges may not be suitable for the patient, as a weakened teeth will lose their strength over time, making them unsuitable for supporting dental bridges.

Alternatively, patients who have weakened anchor teeth can opt for an implant bridge instead, where implants placed in the jaw and used as the abutments instead. 

If you’re looking to understand more about dental bridge or want to check if you’re a suitable candidate for dental bridges. Contact us via our support hotline at 9007 1085 or email us at enquiry@nofrillsdental.com or message us directly. to get in touch with our dentists.

The Importance of replacing missing teeth – either solution is better than no solution.

Whether you and your dentist decide on dental implants or bridges, it’s essential to replace your missing tooth or teeth.

By middle age (45-65), many people have lost at least one tooth through decay, gum disease or injury.

Each one of your teeth – incisors, canines, premolars and molars – has an important job, helping you to chew and grind up food and to speak clearly.

Your teeth also play a crucial role in the structure of your mouth and in relation to other teeth, and just one missing tooth can spoil your smile.

So, leaving a gap if you lose a tooth can have serious consequences.

Both systems have their pros and cons. All patients who are looking to get their teeth replaced using either dental implants or dental bridge should consult their dental provider for more details on either system.

 

Dental ImplantsConventional Dental Bridge
DescriptionAn artificial replacement tooth that is surgically implanted directly into jaw, which fuses with jaw bone over time. Dental implants look and function almost as good as a natural tooth.A prosthetic that is used to replace up to 4 missing teeth per bridge between healthy teeth. Healthy teeth are used as anchors to hold the entire bridge in place while the rest of the bridge sits above gums, effectively replacing the missing teeth.
Ease of Oral Health MaintenanceGood oral health maintenance required for long term success of dental implants. Patients will need to floss around implants to ensure they’re clear of debris.Good oral health maintenance required, for long term success of dental bridge. Patients will need to clean area underneath bridge to prevent inflammation of gums and teeth.
Dietary RequirementsNo change in diet required. But patients should avoid biting down on hard food such as chicken bone, ice and crab shells, which may crack the implant crown.No change in diet required. But patients should avoid biting down on hard food such as chicken bone, ice and crab shells, which may crack the dental bridge.
BreakageIt’s very unlikely that a dental implant would break. But there have been cases where the crown of the dental implant cracks due to mishandling.Dental bridges can break if not properly cared for or maintained.
Comfort LevelDental implants feel as good as natural teeth, they’re mimic the look, form and function of teeth.Dental bridges feel comfortable but not as natural as dental implants.
Prevention of Bone LossDental implants fuse with bone in the jaw, preventing bone loss.Dental bridges do not prevent bone loss.
LifespanCan last a lifetime if properly maintained and cared for.Up to 10 – 15 years on average with the proper care and maintenance.
Average Cost of Treatment$2,500 – $6,000 per dental implant (Medisave Claimable up to $1,250 per implant)$800 – $1000 per unit (1 unit = 1 missing tooth)

 

Ready to Take the Next Step?

If you’ve lost a tooth or are missing several teeth, an experienced Singapore dental implant and bridge dentist will be able to help you decide which system is right for you.

An implant may be more suitable if you’re looking for a natural-looking, long-lasting solution that avoids damaging adjacent teeth.

A 2018 report by Singapore’s TODAY online newspaper reported on how dental implants were becoming a more popular option among the country’s baby boomers, despite the extra costs compared with other tooth replacement systems such as bridges.

On the other hand, a bridge may be a better option if your tooth or teeth have been missing for some time.

NoFrills Dental is always on hand if you want expert advice on whether a dental implant or bridge is the right tooth replacement system to meet all your requirements and restore your smile.

At the end of the day, we believe that the right dentist for you is the one who will lay out all your treatment options on the table, allowing you to make informed decisions, while ensuring that your entire treatment process is as enjoyable, comfortable and hassle-free as possible. Good communication between you and your dentist is the best way to ensure a smooth and successful treatment.

In addition, please only proceed with the treatment if you are fully comfortable with the treatment plan proposed by your provider.

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References

Salou, L., Hoornaert, A., Louarn, G. and Layrolle, P.
Salou, Laëtitia et al. “Enhanced Osseointegration Of Titanium Implants With Nanostructured Surfaces: An Experimental Study In Rabbits”. Acta Biomaterialia, vol 11, 2015, pp. 494-502. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2014.10.017. Accessed 31 Oct 2020.

Dental implants costly, but gaining popularity among baby boomers
“Dental Implants Costly, But Gaining Popularity Among Baby Boomers”. Todayonline, 2020, https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/dental-implants-costly-gaining-popularity-among-baby-boomers. Accessed 31 Oct 2020.

MOH | MediSave
” MOH | Medisave “. Moh.Gov.Sg, 2020, https://www.moh.gov.sg/cost-financing/healthcare-schemes-subsidies/medisave. Accessed 31 Oct 2020.

MOH | Healthcare Schemes & Subsidies
” MOH | Healthcare Schemes & Subsidies “. Moh.Gov.Sg, 2020, https://www.moh.gov.sg/cost-financing/healthcare-schemes-subsidies. Accessed 31 Oct 2020.

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