If you've had more than one of your teeth removed or if you’ve lost them due to trauma, your dentist may suggest using an implant-supported bridge to restore your natural smile. But what's the difference between having single implants fitted and choosing an implant-supported bridge, and how could you benefit from the procedure?
What Is an
With a regular dental bridge your crowns are supported by your natural teeth. An implant-supported bridge entails using implants to support the crowns. One implant is inserted into the jawbone for every tooth that's missing, and the crowns are then connected to form one seamless structure.
The implant-supported bridge is comprised of three parts.
1. The Implant
The implant itself is a pin or post made of titanium. It is inserted into the jawbone, where it forms a firm foundation for the prosthetic tooth. Your dentist will generally use one implant per tooth, unless the jawbone is too crowded or the site is too close to the sinus cavity or the nerves in your jaw.
2. The Abutment
The abutment is a cylinder-shaped attachment that is fixed onto the implant via a screw thread. Abutments are custom-made by a dental lab and may be made from titanium, porcelain or gold.
3. The Restoration
The restoration is the part of the structure that looks like your natural teeth. It forms a series of porcelain crowns that are fused together on a metal substructure to form the bridge.
The procedure takes place over several consultations and the end result is a full set of permanent, natural-looking teeth.
What are The Advantages of an Implant-Supported Bridge?
An implant-supported bridge presents a number of advantages over regular bridge work.
1. Preserve Your Remaining Natural Teeth
If you have a few teeth missing, you may find that your ability to chew normally is badly affected. This often leads to over-use of your remaining teeth, resulting in increased wear and damage. A dental implant-supported bridge can help to preserve your natural teeth while ensuring that you can continue to chew normally.
2. Save Money
Having an implant-supported bridge can be a cost-effective way of preserving your remaining natural teeth. This is because an implant-supported bridge requires fewer implants to fill the gaps left by missing teeth than multiple single implants. And once your implants are in place, they are permanent, unlike removable dentures that will need refitting and replacement over time.
3. Maintain Your Ability to Speak Clearly
When several teeth are lost, a person's ability to speak normally can be impaired. Dentures can also cause problems with normal speech, especially if they don't fit well and tend to move around when you're talking. Unlike dentures, an implant-supported bridge is permanently fixed in the mouth and feels just like your natural teeth. This means that your new dentition won't compromise your ability to speak.
4. Choose an Option Suitable for Patients With Poor Bone Support in the Jaw
If someone has suffered trauma to their jaw or if their jawbone density has been damaged through a congenital condition or disease, that person may not have sufficient jawbone strength to support a single implant.
An implant-supported bridge can help to solve this problem by placing single-tooth implants in the tooth gaps available and then fixing the bridge to them. This treatment allows the patient to have a full set of teeth, but the treatment uses minimal implants and keeps the impact on the jawbone to the bare minimum.