Implant vs. Crown-supported Bridges
Advances in cosmetic dentistry give today’s patients more options when they need to replace a missing tooth. Two popular methods are implant-supported bridges and crown-supported bridges.
With an implant-supported bridge, a titanium post is placed in the empty tooth socket and embedded in the bone. During the healing process, the implant fuses with the bone so that it can function as a tooth root. Later, the implant is topped with either an artificial tooth, in the case of a single missing tooth, or a bridge, which replaces multiple teeth.
In comparison, a crown-supported bridge is supported by the adjacent natural teeth, which are modified to accommodate crowns. The bridge consists of one or two artificial teeth with crowns on either side. The two crowns are cemented onto the two healthy teeth and the artificial teeth fill the gap.
Both methods offer secure restorations with a natural appearance, but there are significant differences you should consider.
The Germantown Dental Group, serving Memphis and the surrounding area, offers both implant-supported bridges and crown-supported bridges. The dental group has more than 30 years of experience providing outstanding cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry to patients throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
What to Consider
The biggest benefit of an implant-supported bridge is that healthy teeth do not need to be altered. The crown is supported by implants embedded in the jaw. With a crown-supported bridge, neighboring teeth need to be ground down to accept the crowns that support the bridge. The risk is that altering healthy teeth can make them more susceptible to future decay.
Another major benefit of implants is that the post inserted into the jaw continues to transmit chewing forces to the bone underneath, stimulating it and keeping it healthy. With a crown-supported bridge, the bone underneath lies undisturbed and eventually starts to shrink through lack of use.
With an average lifespan of 10 years, a crown-supported bridge is not a permanent solution and will need to be replaced. In comparison, a dental implant can last a lifetime, though the bridge prosthetic will likely need replacement at some point in the future.
There are disadvantages to implant bridges, perhaps the main one is the initial cost. Another drawback to implant bridges is that they require surgery and the healing time makes the treatment period longer. Every case is different, but the procedure can take six months to a year to complete. In contrast, a crown-supported bridge can typically be fitted in two or three appointments over a period of only a few weeks.
Many professionals consider dental implants as the best long-term solution, yet implants are not for everyone. In order to support implants, patients must have healthy teeth and gums. If there is insufficient bone or gums, bone or tissue grafts may solve the problem.
If You Have Questions
Each patient is unique and a consultation is the best way to answer your questions. By looking at your teeth and understanding your needs, we can make a recommendation that suits you. Please call so you can get the information you need to make an informed decision.