Hi. It’s Dr Michael Ghobrial from Sure Dental at Wavell Heights in Brisbane.
This morning, I had a call from my Practice Manager. She asked me to come into work a little bit earlier because we had a patient, Peter, who lives in Ascot who snapped his lateral incisor. This tooth had been heavily restored for years. It actually lasted much longer than we expected, but unfortunately today, it snapped at the gum level and the tooth is not restorable.
And obviously, I had to see Peter to get him out of trouble and give him a smile for today. But we also needed to talk about the future and what we’re going to do in the longterm for him. And so, we discussed dental implants and dental bridges as options for him. And he was saying, “Well, Michael, which one’s the way to go? And what’s the difference between an implant and a bridge?”
And it’s a question I hear commonly, and I think it’s a useful thing to know a little bit about. So I thought I’d record this video to share with you the difference between dental implant vs dental bridge, and which is the best option?
Now, I’ll start off the bat and say, any of these recommendations really do need a thorough examination. It needs to consider your individual needs. The factors such as the soft tissue, the bone in the area, your overall bite, what the teeth adjacent to the missing teeth are like. And so, this is general information, but hopefully, you find it helpful.
A dental bridge is a traditional way that, if we want to avoid using a denture to replace a missing tooth. What we do is we go in, we put a crown on the two adjacent teeth near where the gap is. And we hang a ceramic tooth off those two crowns, like a bridge. And so, it’s fixed in there. It’s cemented in. The adjacent teeth are supporting it. And it’s a wonderful, comfortable solution. It is not removable. It stays in your mouth. You can use it with confidence and often, it is a wonderful solution.
The downer for the bridge, however, is that if the adjacent teeth are in great condition, then they have to be damaged in preparing a bridge. You have to prepare them for crowns, which is a real shame to touch those teeth. The other downside is, it is a little bit trickier to clean underneath the bridge and really important to do so, so that decay doesn’t develop.
On the other side, if the adjacent teeth are really compromised, then we can’t trust them to support the bridge as well. And so, there needs to be a little balance. The times in which I consider the bridges for my patients, is actually when the two adjacent teeth, there’s enough of them there, but they do have some damage. They’ve got some cracks and they really would benefit from crowning anyway.
In that situation, a bridge is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. We get to protect those teeth with crowns, whilst replacing the missing tooth. And in that scenario, a bridge can actually really give quite a good cost-benefit solution.
On the other hand, a dental implant is where we have titanium that is placed into where the jaw is. Bone loves titanium. It grows into it in the process of what we call osseointegration. And then, we can place a tooth onto that titanium screw. Now, the benefits of the implants are that it’s a one tooth solution for a one tooth problem.
In Peter’s case, the two adjacent teeth were sound teeth. They’ve never been touched. We don’t want to touch them. And so in his case, having a one tooth solution was super important. It is a little bit easier to clean than a bridge. Again, like a bridge, it looks natural. It’s fixed. It’s not removable and it’s quite comfortable.
The downer for implants is there is a surgical procedure there. There’s a healing period in which we need to have a temporary tooth in place. And in not all cases, do we have enough bone to be able to place the implant in there. Sometimes you need bone grafting. Sometimes you need some soft tissue grafting. And so, that all needs to be considered before jumping into an implant.
Both solutions can be very good solutions to replace a missing tooth, but both solutions also have their limitations. And that’s where a really thorough examination and assessment of the situation and a balanced view, in which we look at the pros and cons of the two to determine the best thing for the patient, is really important.
So, if you have a missing tooth that you’ve been considering wanting to replace, and you’re not sure if you’d like a bridge or an implant, please reach out, we would love to look after you. Simply directly message us on social media, visit our website suredental.com.au and fill in the enquiry form, or give us a call on 07 3256 9111 and our friendly team will help you organise your consultation. I hope you found this video useful, and I’ll see you at the next one.
Note: All content and media on the Sure Dental website and social media channels are created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.
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