If you’re contemplating a tooth implant vs dental bridge, there are certainly pros and cons to both. It will ultimately boil down to which is better suited for your costs and specific needs. In this article, we’ll go into the details of each treatment so you can make a knowledgeable decision moving forward. We do high-quality dental implants in Salt Lake City and South Jordan. Click the button below to request an appointment or give us a call. 

What is a Bridge for Teeth? 

A dental bridge is a fixed solution for missing teeth. It literally “bridges” the gap where one or more teeth used to be. The bridge is made up of two or more crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap — these are called abutment teeth — and a false tooth or teeth in between. These false teeth can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials, and are anchored onto the neighboring teeth for support.

The process of getting a bridge typically involves a couple of visits to the dentist. During the first visit, the abutment teeth are prepared by reshaping them to ensure a proper fit for the crowns. Then, an impression of your teeth is made, which serves as a model from which the bridge, crowns, and false teeth will be made by a dental lab. 

A dental bridge can restore your smile, improve your ability to properly chew and speak, maintain the shape of your face, and prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position. 

Types of Dental Bridges 

Dental bridges come in several types, each designed to accommodate different dental needs and situations. Here are the main types:

  1. Traditional Bridges: This is the most common type of dental bridge. Traditional bridges consist of one or more false teeth (pontics) that are held in place by dental crowns. These crowns are cemented onto the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth or teeth. Traditional bridges are a popular choice when natural teeth are present on both sides of the gap left by the missing tooth. 
  2. Cantilever Bridges: Similar to traditional bridges, cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. In this case, the pontic is supported by a crown that is cemented to only one abutment tooth. Keep in mind that cantilever bridges may put extra stress on the supporting tooth, making them less commonly recommended today. 
  1. Maryland Bridges: Also known as a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland-bonded bridge, this type features a pontic that is held in place by a metal or porcelain framework. This framework is bonded onto the backs of the two adjacent teeth. Unlike traditional bridges, Maryland bridges do not require crowns on the adjacent teeth, which makes them a less invasive option. However, they may not be as strong as traditional bridges and are usually used for teeth that don’t endure intense biting pressure, such as the front teeth. 
  2. Implant-Supported Bridges: For a more stable and durable solution, implant-supported bridges are used. Instead of being supported by crowns or frameworks, these bridges are held in place by dental implants. Typically, one implant is placed for every missing tooth, and these implants hold the bridge in position. Implant-supported bridges are considered the strongest and most supportive type of bridge, especially for those missing several teeth.

What is a Tooth Implant? 

A tooth implant, also known as a dental implant, is a small titanium post that serves as a replacement for the root portion of a missing natural tooth. Due to its strong, durable nature, titanium is used because it effectively integrates with the bone tissue—a process known as osseointegration. This integration helps the implant form a stable and sturdy foundation for the replacement tooth. 

The procedure for getting a tooth implant typically involves several steps. First, the implant is surgically placed into the jawbone where the original tooth was lost. After the implant is inserted, a period of healing is required, which can last several months, allowing the implant to bond securely with the bone. Once the implant has integrated with the jawbone, an abutment is attached to the implant. This abutment serves as a base for the new tooth—a crown—that will be custom-made to match the color and shape of your natural teeth, providing a cosmetic and functional replacement. 

Pros and Cons of Each

When deciding which option is best, both dental bridges and tooth implants offer effective solutions but come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of each: 

Dental Bridges 


  • Cost-Effective: Generally, bridges are less expensive than implants upfront. 
  • Quicker Solution: Getting a bridge usually involves only a few weeks and a couple of dental visits, unlike implants, which can take several months. 
  • Non-Surgical: The procedure for placing a bridge doesn’t involve surgery, which can be a significant advantage for those who are not candidates for surgical procedures. 


  • Durability: Bridges typically last between 5-15 years, which is shorter than the lifespan of an implant. 
  • Tooth Preparation: To place a bridge, the adjacent teeth must be filed down to attach the crowns, which can compromise the health of otherwise healthy teeth. 
  • Bone Loss: A bridge does not stimulate bone growth; hence, bone loss can continue under the missing tooth, potentially leading to changes in the shape of the face or oral issues over time. 

Tooth Implants 


  • Longevity: Implants are designed to last a lifetime with proper care, making them a more permanent solution. 
  • Bone Preservation: Implants integrate with the jawbone, helping to preserve it and prevent bone loss over time. 
  • Aesthetics and Functionality: Implants look and function much like natural teeth, improving both the appearance and the chewing function. 


  • Cost: Implants are typically more expensive than bridges, and the cost might not always be covered by dental insurance. 
  • Surgical Procedure: The placement of implants is a surgical procedure, that carries inherent risks such as infection, inflammation, and pain. 
  • Time-Consuming: The process from start to finish can take several months as it requires time for the bone to heal and integrate with the implant. 

Implant vs Bridge Cost 

When comparing the costs of dental implants and bridges, it’s important to consider both the initial outlay and the long-term investment. Initially, dental implants tend to be more expensive than bridges. The higher cost of implants is due to the surgical procedure required and the materials used, as well as the need for multiple visits to specialists. However, implants can be more cost-effective in the long run due to their durability and the fact that they can last a lifetime with proper care, potentially avoiding future dental expenses. On the other hand, dental bridges are generally less expensive upfront but may need to be replaced more frequently than an implants. Additionally, bridges can lead to further costs if the adjacent teeth, which support the bridge, suffer damage or decay. 

Who Performs Each One? 

Here’s a look at what kind of professional typically handles each type of procedure: 

Dental Bridges 

  • General Dentists: Many general dentists are trained and capable of performing the procedure to install dental bridges. This involves preparing the abutment teeth, taking impressions, and fitting the permanent bridge. 
  • Prosthodontists: For more complex bridge work, especially when dealing with multiple missing teeth or the need for more aesthetically focused outcomes, a prosthodontist may be involved. Prosthodontists specialize in designing and fitting artificial replacements for teeth and other parts of the mouth.

Tooth Implants 

  • Oral Surgeons: These are specialists who are trained to perform surgical procedures within the mouth, including the placement of dental implants. They are skilled in handling the various surgical aspects involved, such as bone grafting and implant placement. 
  • Periodontists: A periodontist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, and in the placement of dental implants. They are experts in the structures supporting the teeth, including the gums and jawbone, making them ideal for implant surgery. 
  • Prosthodontists: After the surgical placement of the implant by an oral surgeon or periodontist, a prosthodontist often takes over to create and fit the artificial teeth or crowns that go on top of the implants. 

Things to Consider When Choosing An Implant vs Dental Bridge

  1. Cost: 

  • Implants: Generally more expensive initially. Costs can vary widely depending on the type of implant and the condition of the patient’s bone and gums. 
  • Bridges: Typically less expensive than implants but might need to be replaced every 5-15 years, potentially increasing long-term costs. 
  1. Number of Missing Teeth: 

  • Implants: Ideal for replacing one or more teeth that are not adjacent to each other. Each implant replaces an individual tooth. 
  • Bridges: More suitable when one or more adjacent teeth are missing. A bridge uses the neighboring teeth as supports for the artificial teeth that span the gap. 
  1. Time: 

  • Implants: The process can take several months, as it requires the implant to fuse with the bone in a process called osseointegration.
  • Bridges: Can usually be completed in a few weeks, making it a quicker solution than implants. 
  1. Bone Health: 

  • Implants: Require sufficient bone density to support the implant. Patients with significant bone loss might need bone grafts, adding to the cost and time. 
  • Bridges: Do not require bone grafting since the artificial teeth do not need to be anchored into the jawbone. 
  1. Longevity and Durability: 

  • Implants: Can last a lifetime with proper care, making them a potentially more durable option. 
  • Bridges: Generally need to be replaced every 5-15 years, though the lifespan can vary based on the care and the materials used. 
  1. Impact on Surrounding Teeth: 

  • Implants: Do not require any alteration to the adjacent teeth, preserving more of your natural tooth structure. 
  • Bridges: Involve preparing the adjacent teeth to support the bridge, which might weaken these teeth over time. 
  1. Aesthetic and Functional Outcomes: 

  • Implants: Tend to provide a more natural look and feel. They also help preserve the jawbone and prevent the bone loss that often follows tooth loss. 
  • Bridges: Can also provide a natural appearance, but they do not prevent bone loss under the missing tooth. 
  1. Overall Oral Health: 

  • Implants: May be better for long-term oral health as they do not rely on other teeth for support. 
  • Bridges: The need to alter adjacent teeth can potentially lead to future dental issues. 

Choosing between an implant and a bridge depends on personal preferences, financial considerations, overall dental health, and the advice of your dental professional. We recommend you discuss all these factors with your dentist to make the best decision for you. 

Other Options and Alternatives to Implants or a Bridge

Removable Partial Dentures

These are prosthetic devices that can be taken out and put back into the mouth. They feature replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base, which is sometimes connected by a metal framework that clasps onto the natural teeth. Partial dentures are a less costly option and can be used when multiple teeth are missing in different parts of the mouth. 

Complete Dentures

Appropriate for cases where all the teeth are missing, complete dentures sit on top of the gums, covering the jawbones. They can be made to fit the upper or lower gum line and are customized to ensure as comfortable a fit as possible. Complete dentures are relatively affordable and are essential for restoring facial structure and function after total tooth loss. 

Temporary Dentures (Flippers)

These are lightweight, temporary prosthetic devices used to fill gaps in the smile. Flippers are typically used as a temporary solution while awaiting a more permanent dental procedure like implants or fixed bridges. They are the quickest and most cost-effective option to replace missing teeth temporarily. 

No Replacement

Sometimes, particularly when the missing teeth are not visible or do not affect function significantly, individuals may opt not to replace them. This decision avoids the costs and maintenance of dental prosthetics but can lead to other dental issues, such as teeth shifting and potential jawbone deterioration over time.

The Tooth Implant vs Dental Bridge Conclusion 

At Utah Periodontal Specialists, while we don’t offer dental bridges, we specialize in dental implants. Should you choose implants as your preferred method of dental restoration, you can trust that you’ll receive top-notch care from our expert team. We’re committed to providing a welcoming and professional environment at both of our locations in South Jordan and Salt Lake City.