There are numerous pros and cons to consider when comparing dental bridge and dental implant procedures. Some factors include long-term success, cost, oral health and the length of the procedure. Dentists and patients generally prefer implants for tooth replacement because they last longer than bridges and are easier to maintain.
As the strength and function of dental implants have improved, they have become the standard recommendation of most dental professionals. One pro is that implants can last a lifetime with proper maintenance, while dental bridges last roughly a decade before they require replacement. For this reason, implants are more cost-effective in the long-term, although they are more expensive up-front.
Another pro is that implants have no risk of cavity formation, and patients can also floss as normal because implants do not attach to or affect neighboring teeth. Bridges sacrifice the integrity of adjacent natural teeth because dentists must grind the teeth to attach the bridge. Bridges also float over the gum, so food and bacteria can become trapped and cause odor, decay and infection.
The main con of dental implants is the time-intensive procedure. Dental implants require a series of office visits, including one or more surgical procedures to insert the titanium root replacement that ultimately prevents bone loss. Factoring in healing time, it can take months to achieve the finished product. In contrast, a dental bridge requires no surgery, and patients can use the new bridge in a matter of weeks.