How They Work
A dental implant is basically an artificial tooth root (typically made from titanium) that is anchored in place of a missing tooth. A temporary protective cover screw is placed on the implant while it fuses with the jawbone (a process called osseointegration). This process can take up to six months to complete, but creates an incredibly stable, durable prosthetic. After completed osseointegration, the protective cover is replaced by a temporary crown. This serves as a template around which the gum grows and shapes itself in a natural way. The process is completed when the temporary crown is replaced by a permanent crown.
(Read more about dental implants)
A dental bridge is in some ways less invasive and other ways more invasive than a dental implant. Unlike implants, bridges do not replace a tooth root. Rather, a bridge uses one or more surrounding teeth as a support on which to attach a crown that can fill the missing tooth space. The treatment process is not nearly as long as the implant process (which requires osseointegration); though in some ways it is more invasive because it requires the permanent alteration of adjacent teeth to support the bridge. As the name implies, a dental bridge literally bridges the gap between teeth resulting from a missing tooth. The restoration therefore must be anchored to one or more adjacent teeth, which must first be filed down in order to function as a support.