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What’s the Difference Between a Dental Bridge and an Implant?

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A close up image of the bottom half of a woman face, she is holding both of her hands up to her cheeks and smiling, showing her dental bridge

What’s the Difference Between a Dental Bridge and an Implant?

Many Canadians are living with missing teeth. They avoid smiling, laughing, and struggle with self-confidence. Dental bridges and implants are two restorative treatments to address missing teeth. Generally, dental bridges are a simpler treatment, while dental implants are a surgical option.

At Outdoor Dental, we use the most modern dental technology available to reduce your anxiety and make treatments comfortable. Once we do a thorough dental exam and x-rays, we can recommend how to best correct your missing teeth.

What Is a Dental Bridge?

Dental bridges are made of pieces fused together to create a permanent appliance that fits into the open space of the missing teeth. The artificial teeth are anchored to the surrounding teeth to bridge the gap and restore your smile:

There are different types of dental bridges, and the most common use include the following:

  • Traditional fixed bridges: the most common type that is made of an artificial tooth fused between two crowns that fit over the adjacent teeth
  • Resin-bonded bridges: instead of crowns, the dental bridge uses metal or porcelain anchors bonded to the back of the teeth.
  • Implant-supported bridge: this is a surgical option where an artificial root is embedded in the jaw bone to attach the bridge

Benefits of a Dental Bridge

Dental bridges are designed to help restore function and appearance and have many benefits, including:

  • It’s non-surgical
  • The recovery is fast
  • The procedure is only a few steps

The Dental Bridge Procedure

Typically, the dental bridge process takes a few appointments, but it can depend on your teeth and the type of bridge procedure. Outdoor Dental’s team will start by taking scans and impressions of your teeth to create the bridge’s components.

The adjacent teeth getting a crown must be filed down to make space. At Outdoor Dental, we use the CEREC machine to create same-day crowns.

Caring for Your Dental Bridge

The average dental bridge lasts 7 to 10 years with proper care, although advances in bridge design are constantly improving and may lead to more durability in the future.

To make your dental bridge last, you should:

  • Brush twice a day
  • Floss around and under the bridge as directed by your dentist
  • Schedule a dental cleaning every six months and an annual dental exam
  • Avoid sticky, chewy food
  • Avoid popcorn, nuts, and hard candy
A dentist holds up a dental bridge

What Is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is a surgical method to replace a missing tooth. A titanium root is implanted into the jaw, and as the surgical site heals, the jawbone grows around the root, securing it in place. Once secure, we’ll make a crown to fit over the root to blend into your surrounding teeth.

The two types of dental implants include: 

  • Endosteal: the most common type of implant, it resembles a small screw inserted into the jawbone to anchor the artificial tooth
  • Subperiosteal: when there’s not enough healthy jawbone to support an implant, the titanium root isn’t drilled into the jawbone but placed above it

Benefits of a Dental Implant

Dental implants have some unique benefits, including:

  • They’re durable and can last up to 15 years or more
  • They maintain a natural look
  • Implants feel more like real teeth

The Dental Implant Procedure

The dental implant procedure is often broken down into several appointments, sometimes months apart. After the initial consultation, where Outdoor Dental’s team will do a physical exam, take scans, and discuss the best implant method with you, you’ll have your procedure.

Under anesthesia, the titanium root will be placed into the jawbone at the site of your missing tooth. As the gum tissue heals, the implant will fuse to the bone, which can take several months to heal.

When the implant is secure, we’ll place a connecting abutment over the implant post. The customized artificial tooth will be attached and secured to the abutment.

Caring for Your Dental Implant

Dental implants don’t require any special care. If you maintain a good oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing, your implant will be healthy like any other tooth. It’s essential to keep up with your cleanings and follow-up appointments.

While tooth decay and cavities won’t affect this tooth, gum disease can negatively affect their condition.

Which is Right for You?

At Outdoor Dental, we can recommend the best restoration technique for missing teeth. Replacing teeth is the best course of action because dental bridges and implants can:

  • Prevent nearby teeth from moving into the empty space, causing other dental problems
  • Help with chewing
  • Maintain normal facial structure by preventing jawbone loss
  • Improve ability to speak clearly
  • Give your mouth, face, and smile a natural appearance

Our recommendation for a dental bridge or implant can consider the following factors:

  • Number of missing teeth
  • Mouth health and overall well-being
  • Treatment time

Don’t Ignore Your Missing Teeth

Tooth decay, gum disease, injury, or accidents can cause people to lose their teeth, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Schedule a dental exam to assess your mouth and discuss any dental issues thoroughly. 

The dedicated team at Outdoor Dental in SE Calgary aims to restore your confidence, teeth functionality, and oral health with restorative dentistry. Contact us today to make an appointment!

Jay Patel

Written by
Dr. Jay Patel

Dr. Patel aims to provide Calgarians with comprehensive oral health care and preventive dental care focused on improving overall well-being. This shows in Dr. Patel’s focus on preventing diseases and achieving effective dental results through patient education and the use of advanced dental technology.

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Dr. Jay Patel

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  • Suite 104, 3883 Front St. SE
  • Calgary, Alberta T3M 2J6

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  • Monday: 9:00 AM 4:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM 7:00 PM
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