Are you missing multiple teeth, but not enough to require full-arch teeth replacements? Dental implant bridges from Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre in Ottawa can provide a functional, attractive, and long-term solution.
Unlike removable partials or fixed bridges, an implant-supported bridge won’t require support from natural teeth, while still preserving your chewing ability and restoring the aesthetics of your smile.
What is an Implant Bridge?
Implant-supported bridges, also known as “fixed partial dentures” or “fixed dental partials”, are a permanent tooth replacement solution used when several teeth are missing at the same time, or when you don’t have enough healthy teeth to support a traditional dental bridge.
With implant-supported restorations, a custom-made bridge is anchored to the dental implants surgically placed in the jawbone.
Traditional Dental Bridges vs. Implant-Supported Dental Bridges
Replacing your missing teeth with a bridge helps you preserve the natural tooth spacing and prevent the movement of the surrounding teeth. Traditional bridges have been the standard for replacing a lost tooth or teeth for a long time, but, in some cases, implant-supported restorations present a better alternative.
Let’s take a look at the main differences between each type of bridge for tooth loss:
How is the Bridge Anchored?
Traditional dental bridges are anchored onto a natural tooth on each side, which means that the enamel of the surrounding teeth needs to be filed down in preparation for dental crowns to be placed over them. It also means that patients need to have enough healthy teeth to support the bridge. If neighboring teeth are mobile, decayed, or have gum disease or bone loss, placing a dental bridge over them would lead to premature failure of the bridge.
Implant-supported bridges do not require support from natural teeth. Instead, each side of the bridge is supported by dental implants, which act as artificial tooth roots. As such, implants are often used for patients with not enough healthy teeth to support traditional bridges or partial dentures.
How Many Teeth Can Be Replaced?
With a traditional bridge, one or two replacement porcelain teeth are attached between two crowns, resulting in a durable and aesthetically-pleasing restoration.
Implant bridges are ideal in situations when there are multiple teeth missing, as they allow for the replacement of more teeth. With implant dentures, as many as 3 to 5 artificial teeth can be placed at once, as dental implants can support more weight than real teeth, – even a full-arch implant denture can be supported with only 4 to 6 implants!
How Long Do They Last?
Traditional dental bridges tend to wear out over time, as new decay, bacteria, and periodontal disease may develop around the anchoring teeth, and bone loss can make them more mobile. Usually, traditional bridges require replacement approximately every 10 years, – over few decades, you may end up replacing your bridges 2 to 3 times. Re-fitting a new bridge over the supporting teeth wears them down, and, eventually, there may not be enough healthy teeth left to support the bridge. As such, traditional bridges come with certain risks and are more expensive over a lifetime, as compared to single tooth implants or implant-retained restorations.
Implant-supported dental bridges last considerably longer as compared to their traditional counterparts. With proper care and cleaning, implants supporting the bridge can last an entire lifetime. Even as the bridge itself wears out, the underlying implants do not need to be replaced, – they are considered to be the most long-lasting tooth replacement option out there. As the new bone fuses around the metal implants, they become permanently secured into the jaw and enhance the bone quality around them.
Benefits of Implant-Supported Bridges
There is no doubt that implant-supported bridges present a wonderful alternative when traditional bridges aren’t an option:
- Implant-supported types of bridges feel, look, and function similar to healthy natural teeth.
- They provide a long-lasting solution without compromising the structure of adjacent teeth on each side of the tooth gap.
- Dental implants and dental implant bridges allow for the preservation of bone density and bone structures.
- They restore normal talking, eating, and smiling without the need to worry about dental prosthetics falling out of the mouth or becoming loose.
- Dental implants present a strong structure capable of withstanding the force of normal biting and chewing.
- Implant-retained bridges present a treatment option that is less expensive as compared to replacing each of the missing individual teeth with a single implant.
Fixed Implant Bridge Procedure Steps
The placement of an implant-supported bridge usually requires two surgeries with a period of wait time in between:
- Implant placement. Dental implants are surgically inserted into the jawbone to act as a tooth root and a solid foundation for the bridge. If you don’t have sufficient bone volume, a bone graft may be required before implants can be placed.
- Osseointegration. You would need to wait for 4 to 6 months to allow the dental implants to osseointegrate or fuse with the surrounding jawbone. You may have a temporary bridge placed and would need to visit your Ottawa implant dentist several times during this recovery time to ensure that the healing process is going well.
- Bridge placement. A custom dental bridge is created to match the size, shape, and shading of your existing teeth and is affixed to the supporting implants. You will be able to enjoy the new smile right on the treatment day!
Cost of Implant Bridges
The cost of implant-supported bridges can vary depending on the number of implants, implant types, the materials used for the final restoration, and whether a bone graft is required.
For example, a 3-unit implant bridge can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $13,000.
Restore Your Smile and Confidence with Dental Implant Bridges in Ottawa
The first step to regaining your confidence and restoring the appearance and functionality of your smile is to talk to a skilled dentist about your dental implant bridge options. When you visit Rockcliffe Dental & Denture Centre, our implant dentists will conduct a thorough assessment of your oral health and propose a customized treatment plan tailored to your needs.