If you are missing a couple of teeth or need to get adjacent teeth extracted, you may be looking at restorative options to replace the gap. One dental prosthesis you may want to consider is a bridge. There are different types of bridges, and one of these options is an implant-supported bridge. Read on to learn more about this dental prosthesis.
What's the Different Between Traditional Bridges and Implant-Supported Bridges?
Aptly named, the bridge is a prosthesis that bridges the gap of missing teeth. With traditional bridges, each end of the bridge anchors to your natural teeth—called abutment teeth. Abutment teeth can be bonded with a metal framework to hold the bridge, or your dentist can cement crowns to the abutment teeth which then attach to the rest of the bridge.
However, if your natural teeth aren't healthy enough to act as abutments for a bridge, what can you do? One option is to go with an implant-supported bridge. Implant-supported bridges use implants and their false teeth as abutments instead of your natural teeth.
What Are the Advantages of Implant-Supported Bridges Compared to Other Options?
Because individual implants can be expensive on their own, implant-supported bridges are a great way to reduce overall costs. Instead of getting three or four implants, you could get one or two implants to act as abutments, and the bridge can span the gap of the other missing teeth.
Implant-supported bridges can be better than other bridges or dentures because your doctor inserts them directly into your jawbone. When a person is missing teeth, their jawbone density decreases. Because implants imitate natural tooth roots, they can help you avoid this bone loss compared to or other prostheses that sit solely above the gumline.
While other bridges are permanent restorations, some people may find that they are less stable than implant-supported ones. For example, if you grind your teeth, then the cement that holds a traditional bridge may break down sooner and need replacing; with implants, the abutment teeth can be screwed into the implants so they are very secure.
What Is the Procedure Like to Get an Implant-Supported Bridge?
Implant-supported bridges usually require two main surgeries: one where your dentist will place the implant into the jaw bone and a second to place the final bridge.
During the first surgery, your dentist may place a temporary bridge so that you don't have to have a large gap in your mouth while the implant sites heal. While your bone heals and fuses to the implants, dental technicians will fabricate your final bridge at a dental laboratory. When you've fully healed, your dentist will attach the bridge to the implant abutments at your second appointment.
For more information about dental implant procedures, reach out to a dental provider in your area today.