Are you missing a row of teeth? A large gap in your smile can probably leave you feeling self-conscious. More importantly, however, the impact that missing teeth can have on your oral health is significant. When it comes to teeth replacement solutions, there are a many solutions so you are not likely to run out of options. Today, our team at LG Dental Centre will discuss the similarities and differences between traditional tooth bridges and implant-supported bridges so you can be well-informed to make your decision.
Conventional dental bridges have been in use for several decades. Tried-and-true, they are recommended for replacing one to three consecutively missing teeth. Although bridges can be fabricated from a variety of high-quality materials, most patients choose a tooth-coloured option that will deliver a more natural-looking appearance. This custom-made restoration consists of two dental crowns on either side, with artificial teeth in between them. The crowns are cemented onto the adjacent natural teeth for support, and the artificial teeth – or pontics – span the gap.
A traditional bridge can be placed quickly, offering patients a fast solution. Conventional bridges are also more affordable than implant-supported options.
The most significant drawback to conventional bridges is that the natural teeth on either side of the gap must be reduced in order for the new restoration to fit properly. This involves drilling the tooth and removing some enamel. Additionally, patients may lose bone density in that area over time, as bone atrophy is a natural byproduct of tooth loss.
Functionally, implant-supported bridges are quite similar to their conventional counterparts. Like a traditional bridge, there are two dental crowns with pontics in between. However, the primary difference is that an implant-supported bridge is connected to dental implants rather than the natural teeth. Dental implants are small, threaded titanium posts that replace the roots of missing teeth. Used for decades, implants are widely considered to be the most predictable and longest-lasting teeth-replacement option available.
There are several advantages of choosing an implant-supported restoration. The most notable benefit is that the natural teeth do not need to be reduced. Therefore, your healthy tooth structure can be left intact. Another advantage is that implants replace the missing teeth roots. This is beneficial because they stimulate the jawbone and prevent bone degeneration.
The only drawback to an implant-supported bridge is that, in most cases, the final restoration cannot be placed immediately. Generally, a few months of healing is necessary once the implants have been placed. During this time, the jawbone fuses to the posts in a process referred to as osseointegration. Once the healing period is complete, the final bridge can be connected to the implants, using either dental cement or screw retention.
In some cases, patients may not qualify for dental implants due to health concerns. In such instances, a traditional dental bridge will be recommended.
The only way to know for sure which type of bridge will serve your needs is to schedule a consultation at our North York, ON dental practice at Yonge and Lawrence. During a visit with Dr. Goldstein, he can make a recommendation based on your unique needs and preferences. To learn more, call us at 416-224-8300 or contact us online anytime.