Implants do not decay, and adjacent healthy teeth do not require crowns to support them. And because it is easy to clean and floss between implants, the gum tissue and underlying bone are more likely to remain healthy.
With a bridge, if one of the supporting crowned teeth breaks or develops decay or nerve damage, the bridge and its three or more crowns must be removed and replaced.
Implants can replace individual lost teeth or many teeth in a row. For those who have lost most of their teeth, implants can be used to anchor a full or partial denture. About half a million implants are placed each year in this country.
On average, the total cost of an implant to replace a single tooth is $3,500 to $4,000 (more if other procedures are required), or about one-third more than the cost of a bridge. But while bridges have an average life span of 10 years, an implant can last a lifetime.