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Dental Implant vs Bridge

A missing tooth can be replaced with a dental implant or a dental bridge. But how do you know which option to choose? An overview of the pros and cons can help.

Dental Bridge

A dental bridge affects at least three teeth—the one or two that are missing and the adjacent teeth. A crown is placed over each adjacent tooth, and the replacement tooth is suspended between them.

Diagram of a dental bridge suspended above two shaved-down teeth, for information on dental bridges and implants from Bakersfield, CA dentist Dr. Thomas Frank.

Teeth adjacent to the missing one are shaved down to accommodate a dental bridge.


  • The process is faster than getting a dental implant. It can be placed in just two appointments.
  • It can be placed by most dentists because dental bridge training is provided in dental school.
  • It’s slightly less expensive than a dental implant.


  • Teeth on either side of the missing one are used as anchors for the bridge. They have to be shaved down so the crowns in the bridge will fit over them. The bridge also puts stress on the anchor teeth.
  • If anything happens to any of the teeth involved, such as recurrent decay on one of the abutment teeth, the whole bridge may need to be re-done.
  • There can be some post-operative sensitivity to heat and cold for a few weeks.
  • Diligent oral hygiene is required. A floss threader is required to fully clean under the bridge and the adjoining root surfaces to prevent decay in those places and gum disease.

Dental Implant

A dental implant has the structure of a natural tooth. A titanium root form is surgically implanted in the jawbone. After the jawbone heals around the root form, a replacement tooth, or dental crown, is secured to it.


Diagram of a dental implant to show how it differs from a dental bridge. The first figure is of an implant with a separate abutment and crown,. The second shows the implant in bone tissue with the abutment and crown above it, but unsecured. The third diagram shows the implant in the jawbone with the abutment and crown secured. This information is provided for the office of Bakersfield dentist Dr. Thomas Frank.

A dental implant does not require work on adjacent teeth.

  • Unlike a dental bridge, no work is required on adjacent teeth.
  • The root form stimulates your jawbone and prevents jawbone shrinkage, which normally occurs when a tooth is missing.
  • It’s surgically implanted, so it looks and feels like a natural tooth.
  • It’s easier to take care of. You floss between it and brush it like a natural tooth.


  • The implant may need to be placed by a surgeon, which will require a referral, and then the crown will be placed on the implant by Dr. Callan.
  • There is a healing period of two to four months before you receive the replacement tooth. If needed, you may receive a temporary crown while you wait.
  • It’s more expensive than other options for tooth replacement.

Whether you prefer a dental bridge or a dental implant, you want it to look natural and to be properly placed. Dr. Steve Callan will make sure that happens.

If you would like to discuss your options, call our office for an appointment, or complete our online form and we will call you.