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Dental Bridges vs Dental Implants: Making an Informed Decision

When it’s time to address missing teeth, there are many options to choose from. Two of the most commonly used are dental implants and dental bridges. But how do you determine which treatment makes the most sense for you and your particular dental needs? Most patients who are considering and researching permanent teeth replacement will ask this question, among others.

Along with the basics, common considerations include questions like, do dental implants cost more than dental bridges? How long do dental implants last? How many teeth can you replace with a dental bridge? Are there different types of dental bridges? Are dental implants painful? Does it come down to dental bridge vs implants, or are there cases where I might need both?

These are all important questions that we will work to answer as you consider treatment and hopefully work toward finding a qualified and compassionate dentist who can address all of your concerns.

What are Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges are a common dental restoration treatment used to replace one or more missing teeth. First, adjacent teeth next to the missing tooth or teeth, called abutment teeth, have to be prepared by removing a portion of enamel for the bridge to be attached to.

Once the abutment teeth are prepared, impressions of the teeth are usually taken and forwarded to a dental laboratory for the fabrication of a custom bridge. However, at Divine Smiles, we employ digital scan technology instead of traditional impressions. Additionally, in most cases through our same-day dentistry approach we manufacture the bridge in-house.

Once the bridge is ready, it is fitted and adjusted to ensure a natural-looking and feeling result. Patients can replace either a single tooth or multiple missing teeth with one bridge fixture. Several types of dental bridges exist, such as traditional bridges and cantilevers, which involve the use of a single abutment. Dr. Clancy consistently opts for traditional bridges, as cantilevers lack stability and are not long lasting.

When are Dental Bridges the better choice?

Determining whether dental bridges are right for you depends on various factors, including overall oral health, budget, and personal preferences.


  • Cost-Effective: Dental bridges often involve less initial cost than implants, making them a more affordable option for some patients.
  • Less Invasive: The procedure for placing dental bridges is typically less invasive compared to dental implants, which require surgery to place the implant into the jawbone.
  • Undisturbed Jawbone Structure: Unlike dental implants, which require drilling into the jawbone, dental bridges do not directly stimulate the jawbone. They can still help maintain the structure of the jawbone by preventing adjacent teeth from shifting into the gap left by the missing tooth.


  • Dependence on Adjacent Teeth: Dental bridges rely on the support of abutment teeth for stability. This means that healthy teeth may need to be modified to accommodate the bridge, which can weaken them over time.
  • Limited Lifespan: While dental bridges can last for many years with proper care, they typically have a shorter lifespan when compared to dental implants. Bridges may need to be replaced every 5 to 15 years, depending on factors such as oral hygiene and wear and tear.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants offer another natural-looking solution for replacing missing teeth. First, detailed planning is done for the surgical procedure, including imaging to assess bone structure and determine the optimal placement of the implants. Usually performed under local anesthesia, your dentist makes an incision into the gums to allow for access to the jawbone and then carefully drills small holes into the bone to insert the implant posts.

Following several weeks or months, once osseointegration is fully achieved, the implants will have fused securely within the jawbone. Subsequently, we conduct laser uncovering to affix the custom-made crowns or implant bridges onto the implant posts, ensuring a seamless and natural appearance and sensation.

When are Dental Implants the better choice?

While it always depends on the specific needs of the patient, dental implants are often considered the superior choice for tooth replacement in various situations.


  • Standalone Solution: Dental implants act as standalone replacements for missing teeth and do not rely on adjacent teeth for support. This means that neighboring teeth are left untouched.
  • Longevity: Dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime with proper care. Once integrated with the jawbone, they become a permanent part of the oral structure, offering superior durability and actual prevention of bone loss in the jaw.


  • Higher Cost: Dental implants tend to have a higher initial cost compared to bridges, but considering their longevity and benefits, many patients view implants as a worthwhile long-term investment.
  • Discomfort: Since dental implants do involve an invasive surgical procedure, you could experience some pain or tenderness after the surgery. In contrast to the less invasive dental bridge, there is the potential for a higher level of discomfort for a brief period.

Dental Expertise Is Key For Great Outcomes

Both bridges and implants offer a natural appearance and improved function as well as enhanced confidence. In some cases, your provider may determine that a combination of both implants and bridges is the best treatment plan. For any patient in need of tooth replacement, the best way to determine what’s best for you is to meet with an expert like Dr. Ryan Clancy at Divine Smiles for a personalized treatment plan.

Schedule Your Consultation With Premier Woburn Dentist Dr. Ryan Clancy

Dr. Ryan Clancy and every member of our team are here to help guide you to your healthiest, most confident smile. Take the first step by scheduling a full assessment of your concerns, and begin designing your ideal smile and personalized treatment plan.

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