What are Implant Supported Dental Bridges?
Are you missing several teeth, but not enough to require replacement of the entire arch? Implant supported dental bridges can provide an attractive, functional, long-term solution. Unlike fixed bridges or removable partials, an implant supported bridge won’t require support from your healthy surrounding teeth. This is different from conventional bridges. In a conventional bridge, existing teeth are compromised. These end teeth are used to support the two ends of the bridge.
Implant supported bridges preserve your chewing ability. They help to maintain the attractiveness of your smile. Dental implant supported bridges also assist in preserving the integrity of your jaw bone at the location of the implants.
Implant Supported Dental Bridges
Dental bridges have long been used to replace missing teeth. A bridge is a restoration that has one or two false teeth suspended between two crowns. It is made of porcelain, so that it matches your surrounding teeth. Porcelain is durable as well as aesthetically pleasing.
Before dental implants, bridges were anchored onto natural teeth. This meant that the anchoring teeth had to be ground down, so that a restoration could be cemented over them. It also meant that there had to be enough healthy teeth to support the bridge. Bridges were not options if the anchoring teeth were decayed, mobile or had gum disease. Placing a bridge onto teeth like this would simply result in premature failure of the bridge.
Instead, implant supported dental bridges need no natural teeth. Each end of the bridge is supported by an individual dental implant. Implant supported dental bridges are ideal in situations where there are several missing teeth. They allow you to replace more teeth than a traditional bridge. As many as three to five teeth can be replaced at once. That’s because implants are extremely strong and can support more weight than a real tooth. (Even a full mouth denture can be supported by as few as 4 to 6 implant roots.)
Traditional bridges wear out. New decay develops around the supporting teeth. Bone loss can make them become mobile. Most traditional bridges have to be replaced every 10 years or so. Over a few decades, you may wind up paying for 2 or 3 bridges. Constantly re-fitting the bridge over the supporting teeth wears them down. Eventually, there is not enough tooth enamel to work with. Even one tooth having problems will make it impossible for the other healthy tooth to support the bridge. Thus, traditional bridges are riskier than having a single implant or implant supported bridge installed.
Implant supported dental bridges last longer than conventional bridges. In most cases, the implants supporting the bridge will last up to an entire lifetime. Proper care and maintenance is key. Even if the bridge itself wears out, the underlying implants should not need additional work. They are considered to be the longest lasting tooth replacement option available. As new bone fuses around them, the implants become secured into the jaw. This also enhances the bone quality surrounding the implant.
Replacing your missing teeth with a bridge helps you preserve your natural tooth spacing. Otherwise the teeth will start to move. As you bite and chew, the other teeth drift out of place. Not only can this lead to abnormal wear to your teeth, it can also contribute to aesthetic concerns. The sooner the missing teeth are replaced, the less likely tooth movement is to take place.
How Do Implant Supported Dental Bridges Work?
The dental implants are placed in the jaw, creating solid anchors over time as the bone and titanium (typically) integrate. A bridge of teeth is created to match the shading, shape and size of your existing teeth. This bridge will then be affixed to the implants. This procedure will allow you to enjoy a healthy new smile and renewed confidence in only a day.
Following your initial procedure, you will be seen for routine checkups to assess the integration of your implants. This is to ensure that the implant and surrounding bone have integrated successfully.