Dental implants have grown dramatically in popularity in recent years. Although they’ve been in common use for more than 30 years, it’s likely that if you lost teeth a decade or more ago, it was recommended that you replace your tooth with a dental bridge rather than a dental implant.

With time, though, dental bridges can wear out and fail. Or sometimes they just don’t look as attractive as you wish. In either case you may be considering getting a new dental implant to replace the bridge.

It’s usually possible to make this swap, but it might not be easy, and, in some cases, it might not be worth it.

Smiling man in front of a nice house

Replacing Dental Implants with Bridges

Dental bridges have a number of limitations, but one of the most important when you’re considering a new dental implant is that dental bridges don’t stimulate the bone in your jaw. Over time, the area where your missing tooth used to be that is now being spanned by a dental bridge will lose bone mass, and now there may not be enough to support a dental implant.

The good news is, we can generally overcome this limitation, it just takes longer. Bone grafts can be used to build up the bone to accept a dental implant, giving great results. It may be four or six months longer to complete the procedure, though, depending on the state of your jawbone.

Is It Worth It?

Another issue we have to consider is whether it’s worth it to replace a dental bridge with a dental implant. Dental bridges can be highly functional and attractive restorations, if done right.

If the primary issue is cosmetic, you should know that new dental bridges are much more attractive than some of the ones used in the past. For purely cosmetic reasons, there’s probably no need to switch to a dental implant, unless bone loss is leading to visible sinking of the gums.

A good reason to switch to a dental implant is that the tooth or teeth supporting the bridge are threatened. In particular, cantilever bridges–those anchored on only one side–can threaten the tooth supporting them. To prevent loss of your natural tooth, we might recommend moving to a dental implant.

Dental bridges built with too long a span, or those that are subject to high bite force can also put your teeth at risk and might be better replaced with dental implants.

If you have an old bridge you think might need replacing with a dental implant, we can help. Please call  for an appointment with a Westchester County implant dentist at Advanced Dentistry of Mohegan Lake.