Implants vs Bridges: What’s the Difference and How to Choose

Replacing missing teeth improves more than just your appearance. Just one missing tooth can impact the alignment of your teeth, the shape of your jaw, your oral health, and your ability to eat and speak.

There are many options when it comes to choosing a new, natural looking smile, but two of the most popular ways to replace missing teeth are dental implants and dental bridges.

Example illustration of a dental Implant and a Dental Bridge

Dental Bridge vs. Dental Implant: Direct Comparison

Dental implants are artificial titanium rods that are inserted into your jawbone in a simple surgery. Over time, new bone grows around the implant securing it in place and acting as a new root of the tooth. After your implant is fully healed, false teeth called “crowns” are placed on top to complete the procedure and give you a new, natural looking tooth.

Dental bridges are attached to the healthy teeth on either side of your tooth gap, creating a “bridge”. To support a bridge, your natural teeth are shaved down and crowns are bonded to them.

Implants vs Bridges

Dental Implants
Dental Bridges
Replace one tooth
Replace multiple teeth
Inserted into jawbone

Requires surgery

Requires several appointments

Can prevent bone loss

Requires healthy natural teeth

Prevents shifting teeth
Risk of damage or decay of surrounding teeth


Care is similar to natural teeth


Porcelain or plastic
Can last a lifetime
5–7+ years
Typical cost
Can be more expensive
Can be less expensive

Bridge vs. Implants Cost

The cost for dental implants and bridges will vary depending on material, your insurance provider, your dentist, where you live, the number of teeth you are replacing, and any other dental procedures — such as extractions or grafting — you might require.

Depending on price factors, the cost of a dental bridge might range from $300 to $3,000 per tooth, whereas dental implants might range from $2,000 to $6,000 per tooth.

At Affordable Dentures & Implants, we provide flexible payment options to make sure we accurately assess your budget needs.

We recommend always having open communication with your dentist and staff to obtain the most accurate cost estimate for any dental procedure.

Dental Implants vs. Bridges Procedure

The major difference between dental implants and bridges is in the procedure for how each is placed in your mouth. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically placed into your jawbone, while bridges are artificial teeth placed on top of your existing natural teeth.

No matter what route you choose, the after care is very important for both dental implants and bridges. Make sure you are maintaining good oral health, abstaining from tobacco products, avoiding chewing on hard candies and ice, and notifying your dentist if you grind your teeth.

Dental Implants Procedure

The dental implant process requires a treatment timeline that could look like this:

  1. Initial consultation with dentist - Receive an oral health examination and have mouth impressions taken.
  2. Preparation appointment - If any tooth extractions or jawbone grafting are needed, this will be addressed first.
  3. Surgery with anesthesia.
  4. Healing and recovery.
  5. Abutment attachment - After the jawbone grows around the implant, a piece of metal called abutment is used to attach your implant with your false teeth.
  6. Fitting session - After you’re completely healed, crowns, bridges or dentures are made custom to fit your new implant.
  7. Follow-up appointments - Your dentist will check-in to make sure everything feels right and is continuing to heal well. Do not miss these appointments.

No matter what type of dental implant you get, the process is more time consuming than bridges, you should expect the entire dental implant process to last between 6 months to a year.


Dental Bridges Procedure

There is no major surgery required for dental bridges, but the process still requires some preparatory work and assessment of your oral health. You can expect your process to be similar to the following:

  1. Initial consultation - evaluation of oral health, impressions for mold and treatment planning conversations are expected in the first appointment.
  2. Tooth preparation appointment - For bridges to be placed in your mouth, the natural teeth on either side of your missing teeth are filed down by a minimum of 1 millimeter (about 0.04 in).
  3. Final bridge placement - With local anesthesia, the crowns will be glued to your natural teeth to support the false teeth (aka the bridge part of the bridge) in between the crowns.

What’s Right for You: Bridge or Dental Implant?

In most cases, the choice of whether a bridge or implant is best for you will depend on the state of your current oral health, specifically your existing teeth and your jawbone density.

If you: 

  • Prioritize the closest resemblance to natural teeth
  • Don’t want to alter your healthy adjacent teeth
  • Are willing to spend more upfront for a long-term solution
  • Are ok with undergoing a longer dental process (including surgery)
  • Prefer easier cleaning routines

Then, dental implants are a good option for you.

If you:

  • Suffer from bone disease and can’t support a surgery
  • Have strong adjacent teeth that can serve as abutments
  • Are looking for a more cost-effective option
  • Want a quick dental process
  • Are ok with spending more time with oral health maintenance and cleaning

Then, dental bridges are a good option for you.

Dental implants and bridges are not the only options for replacing missing teeth. If you:

  • Are a smoker
  • Have undergone radiation to your neck and jaw
  • Suffer from secondary health complications such as diabetes

Then, your dentist may recommend full dentures or partial dentures instead.

Having more than two great options that will impact your future is a difficult choice. There are many factors to consider and we ultimately want what’s best for you. We advise you to discuss these options with your dentists and medical professionals to ensure you make the best choice.

We Believe Everyone Deserves to Love Their Smile

At Affordable Dentures & Implants, we offer many options to help you replace missing teeth and give you back your natural smile at an affordable price. The first step is to schedule a FREE consultation with your local practice for an assessment to determine the treatment options that are right for you.


We Believe Everyone Deserves to Love Their Smile

Schedule your free consultation today to learn more about an affordable, long lasting solution to tooth loss.

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