Implant secured bridgework is the longest lasting type of dental bridge. Most bridges are supported by natural teeth but this version bridges the gap between implants. The adjacent teeth are not damaged in any way. This tooth replacement option has become far more popular than the partial denture option.
Tooth loss is devastating to both aesthetics and oral health, and the consequences reach far and wide. According to research from the National Institutes of Health, patients with tooth loss experienced chewing difficulties, speech issues, lack of self confidence. It is also common to have a concern about their appearance among other things. There are plenty of solutions for tooth loss. In this informative article, we’ll discuss implant secured bridgework and its role in teeth replacement.
The Dental Implant Advantage
Dental implants are widely viewed as the most superior, longest lasting teeth replacement option available. They are the only restorative solution that replaces missing roots. This is significant because it is consequently the only option that preserves bone health and density.
Natural teeth stimulate the jaw and send restorative signals to the brain. As a result, the jawbone receives the necessary nutrients and minerals, keeping it strong and healthy. When tooth loss occurs, there are no longer roots to stimulate the jaw. Especially when tooth loss is from gum disease, the bone ridge shrinks – a condition known as atrophy. This is why individuals who have been missing teeth for years often have a gaunt or “hollowed” appearance.
However, when teeth are replaced with dental implants, the jawbone receives those signals once again. This is because the implants stimulate the nerves the same way that natural teeth roots do. When patients choose implant supported restorations, they can enjoy many benefits, including improved oral health as well as enhanced function and aesthetics.
Traditional Bridgework, Modern Techniques
Implant secured bridgework is not that much different than traditional bridgework. Both types of bridges are essentially the same in terms of mechanics, and both are designed to replace one to three consecutive teeth. Often temporary bridges are employed during the building process.
A bridge is made from a single solid piece of material, with dental crowns on either side and prosthetic teeth (pontics) in the middle. While a conventional bridge rests on the natural teeth for support, an implant secured bridge relies on dental implants.
Implant Secured Bridgework vs. Traditional Bridges
When a traditional bridge is placed, alteration of the natural teeth is required. This involves removing some enamel so that the new restoration can be properly anchored. As a result, the natural tooth structure is compromised and there may be an increased risk of decay later on. However, traditional bridges may be an option for individuals who don’t want to undergo oral surgery.
Implant supported bridges require a surgical step. During this visit, an oral surgeon places the implants into the jawbone. It can take several weeks for implants to heal and fully integrate with the bone. In fact, if your bridge is being placed in the back of your jaw, your implants may need three to six months to totally heal.
Because an implant secured bridge rests on implants, alteration of the natural teeth is not necessary. Furthermore, this type of restoration preserves existing bone and reduces the risk of degradation in the future.
Implant Secured Bridgework and Total Tooth Loss
In the previous section, we discussed how a dental bridge is designed to replace up to three teeth in a row. There are many patients who have lost all of their teeth. While many choose a removable implant supported denture, some prefer the permanence of a fixed restoration. In these instances, implant secured bridgework is an excellent option.
Because every patient is unique, each treatment plan will be different. However, most patients who are missing all of their teeth in a dental arch can support a full restoration on six to eight implants. Once these implants have healed, fixed bridges can be attached.
Caring for Your Implant Supported Bridge
Whether you have an implant bridge or implant supported crowns, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene of your implants, teeth and gums. You must clean underneath the bridgework effectively. This usually requires floss threaders, dental picks, or proxy brushes. Many patients also find water piks to be helpful. When you brush, be sure to use a non abrasive fluoride gel. Harsh formulas can scratch the bridgework.
Most importantly, visit your dentist for regular exams and cleanings. During this appointment, your dental team can ensure that your restoration is in good working condition.
Learn More about Implant Secured Bridgework
If you would like to learn more about implant supported bridges or other teeth replacement options, contact us. We are an established cosmetic dental practice serving the greater Chicago area.