Dental implant-supported bridge, partial denture, or dental bridge?


Are you comparing a dental-implant supported bridge, a partial denture, and a dental bridge? Consider the differences and the pros and cons for each.

Partial denture

A partial denture has a metal or a gum-colored framework. Acrylic teeth are embedded in the base to replace missing teeth.


  • One or more teeth can be replaced with a partial denture.
  • It’s the least expensive form of tooth replacement.
  • It more appealing than missing teeth.


  • It’s not as aesthetically pleasing as a dental bridge or implant-supported bridge.
  • It is clasped onto your adjacent teeth, so it’s uncomfortable, and it can weaken the supporting teeth.
  • It doesn’t prevent bone loss in the spaces where teeth are missing.


Dental bridge

A dental bridge replaces one or more missing teeth. Replacement teeth are suspended in the middle. Each end of the bridge has a dental crown that is placed on the natural teeth either side of the missing ones. The end, or anchor, teeth have to be shaved down to accommodate the dental crowns.


  • A cosmetic dentist can provide porcelain crowns in a bridge that look completely natural.
  • It’s more comfortable than a partial denture.
  • It lasts longer than a partial denture.


  • Natural teeth on either side of the missing one(s) serve as an anchor for the bridge. They have to be shaved down to accommodate the crowns. This can weaken the anchor teeth.
  • It doesn’t prevent bone loss in the spaces where teeth are missing.
  • A bridge with a metal framework darkens replacement teeth and interferes with translucence. The replacement teeth won’t match your natural teeth, unless a cosmetic dentist adjusts the tooth color and translucence to accommodate the darkening caused by the metal.

Dental implant-supported bridge

A dental implant-supported bridge replaces multiple missing teeth. Instead of using your natural teeth as anchors, dental implants are used.


  • No work needs to be done on adjacent teeth, because they don’t serve as anchors.
  • A cosmetic dentist can provide dental crowns for the bridge that look completely natural.
  • The implants that anchor the bridge stimulate jawbone growth.


  • It’s more expensive than a partial denture and other types of non-implant bridges.
  • There is usually a healing period of at least several weeks before a permanent bridge is secured to the dental implants.
  • If you’ve already experienced jawbone shrinking in the spaces where teeth are missing, you might need bone grafting before implants can be placed.


Before you make a decision or request a specific form of tooth replacement, consult with an accredited cosmetic dentist to discuss your options.

This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Why is my dentist against doing teeth whitening before filling cavities?


I’m wondering if you can tell me why my dentist might be against doing teeth whitening before filling my cavities. I want my teeth whitened for a family reunion / cruise. My dentist does in-office whitening but he wants me to have cavities filled first. The whitening is my priority because the reunion is in 3 weeks. I thought that I should get my teeth whitened first and fillings after to match. I’m confused. I asked him about his reasoning, but he pretty much said he prefers to do it that way. Before I go back to my dentist, I want to be sure that I understand the right order to get the work done. Which should be done first teeth whitening or fillings? And why would my dentist ask me to get the cavities filled first? Thanks. Nikki

Nikki – We’re not sure why your dentist is asking you to have your cavities filled first. Your teeth can be whitened first, but whether or not they should be depends on the condition of your teeth and the extent of your cavities. We’ll explain some factors for you to consider.

  • Prescription-strength teeth whitening can cause sensitivity in teeth. If you have untreated tooth decay, the bleaching gel can affect tooth nerves and cause much discomfort.
  • Some experts say that bleaching gel can irritate decayed teeth or make cavities worse and weaken your teeth.
  • If your teeth are whitened after cavities are filled, the fillings will be darker than your teeth. But this probably won’t be noticeable—particularly because cavities are usually placed on the biting surfaces of your teeth. Composite fillings are tooth colored and less noticeable anyway.

If you want your fillings to match your whitened teeth, ask your dentist again if whitening can be completed first. You can also try again to ask for an explanation as to why he prefers to fill your cavities first. The reason will likely make sense.

Additionally, you can consider getting a second opinion from a cosmetic dentist.


This post is sponsored by Lowell cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.