Choosing Between a Dental Implant and a Bridge

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When faced with tooth loss, deciding on the best treatment option can feel like navigating a maze of choices. Common solutions for replacing missing teeth include individual dental implants and traditional or implant-supported bridges. Each option has its own set of benefits and considerations, making it essential to weigh your options carefully. In this blog, we’ll explore the crucial factors that can help you choose between individual dental implants, traditional bridges, and their implant-supported counterparts to help you make an informed decision about your oral health.

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Replacing Teeth With Individual Dental Implants

Tooth loss can be traumatic, but excellent options are available to restore your smile and confidence. Individual dental implants are titanium posts surgically placed into the jawbone to serve as artificial tooth roots and provide a sturdy foundation for dental crowns (prosthetic teeth).

Dental implants aren’t cheap, causing many patients to choose a conventional dental bridge, but for others, a dental implant is the wiser choice. For a young adult who has lost one or two teeth due to an injury, an individual implant is an excellent investment in their long-term oral health

For older adults or denture-wearers who have recently begun to lose bone density due to gum disease, implants can help slow down or stop the worsening of resorption.

 Consider the following when choosing an individual dental implant:


Dental implants offer unmatched durability and longevity compared to other tooth replacement options. With proper care and maintenance, implants can last a lifetime, making them a cost-effective solution in the long run.

Natural Appearance

Implants are designed to look and function like natural teeth, providing a seamless and aesthetically pleasing smile. The custom-made crowns attached to the implant closely match the color, shape, and size of adjacent teeth for a natural appearance.

Preservation of Jawbone

Dental implants help preserve jawbone density by stimulating bone growth and preventing bone resorption, which can occur with tooth loss. A healthy underlying jawbone helps maintain facial structure and prevents the sunken appearance associated with missing teeth.

Preservation of Teeth

Unlike traditional bridges, which require the adjacent teeth to be altered or trimmed down to accommodate the bridge, dental implants preserve the integrity of neighboring teeth. This helps maintain overall oral health and reduces the risk of future dental problems.

When patients with a history of gum disease have been missing multiple teeth for an extended period and bone loss has progressed, gum and bone grafting procedures may be required before dental implants can be placed. In these cases, the healing process will also last significantly longer.

Replacing Teeth With a Dental Bridge 

Traditional dental bridges usually consist of one or two artificial teeth (pontics) attached to two crowns placed on the adjacent natural teeth for support. While bridges offer a convenient and cost-effective solution to replace teeth, there are several factors to consider:

Aesthetic Limitations

Traditional bridges may not provide the same level of aesthetic appeal as dental implants because they rely on adjacent teeth for support. This sometimes results in a less natural appearance, especially if the neighboring teeth are discolored or misaligned. 

While bridges are color-matched to existing teeth, they cannot be lightened after placement. Patients often have their teeth whitened before receiving their bridge.

Risk of Complications

Preparing adjacent teeth to accommodate the bridge can weaken their structure and increase the risk of decay or damage over time. Additionally, bridges may be more prone to gum recession and bone loss than dental implants.

Oral Hygiene Issues

Because a dental bridge is one solid piece attached to supporting teeth, a Waterpik™ may be recommended, as regular floss cannot clean between the gums and bridge.

Limited Lifespan

While bridges can last several years with proper care, they may need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. A shorter prosthetic lifespan can result in additional expenses and inconvenience over time.

Replacing Teeth With Implant-Supported Bridges

When missing multiple teeth, implant-supported bridges offer an alternative solution that combines the stability of dental implants with the convenience of a traditional dental prosthetic. 

Here’s what to consider:

Enhanced Tooth Stability

Implant-supported bridges are anchored to dental implants rather than relying on adjacent teeth for support. This provides increased stability and prevents the prosthetic teeth from shifting or moving.

Improved Chewing Function

Implant-supported bridges restore chewing function and bite strength, allowing individuals to enjoy a broader range of foods without discomfort or difficulty.

Prevention of Jawbone Loss

By integrating with the jawbone, the supporting dental implants help prevent bone loss while maintaining oral health and facial aesthetics over time.

Implant-supported dentures like All-on-4® can replace an entire arch of teeth and are the only option, besides full-mouth individual implants, that can preserve bone and maintain lower facial structure.

Your Tooth Replacement Decision

Choosing between individual dental implants and tooth or implant-supported bridges requires careful consideration of longevity, aesthetics, oral health, and long-term maintenance. While both options offer benefits for replacing missing teeth, dental implants stand out for their durability, natural appearance, and ability to preserve oral health

However, individual circumstances, such as bone density and budget constraints, may influence the decision-making process. Consulting with a qualified dental professional is essential to assess your unique needs and determine the most suitable treatment option for restoring oral function and smile.

Dental Bridges and Implants in Chicago, IL

Drs. Vlad and Nikol Fedin are highly skilled and experienced dentists who provide a wide range of tooth replacement options in Chicago, Illinois. If you have questions about bridges and dental implants, we have the answers. Call our office at (312) 642-6631 to learn more.


Contact Us

Chicago Office

919 Michigan Ave
Floor 3
Chicago, IL 60611

(312) 642-6631

Skokie Office

4905 Old Orchard Center
Suite 420
Skokie, IL 60077

(847) 676-0484