Dental implants are the most natural-looking, feeling and functioning option for replacing missing teeth because they most closely mimic the structure of natural teeth. They can often be utilized in place of fixed bridges or removable partial dentures. Implants are titanium anchors that are set into the jawbone to hold secure replacement teeth in position, much like the root of a natural tooth holds a tooth crown in place. Through the process, known as "osteointegration," the jawbone attaches itself to the implant over time to provide great stability. As a result, implants are able to absorb nearly the same amount of biting pressure that healthy, natural teeth can absorb.
Once the implant is integrated (healed), it can be restored by placing a crown or bridge on it. This gives a most natural appearance and feel. The whole restorative process generally takes 3-9 months.
Patients who have been edentulous (toothless) for many years often have difficulty wearing their lower dentures successfully. The jawbone is unable to maintain its shape and begins to shrink. As a result, even well-fitting dentures will shift and bounce. This problem can be addressed with an implant-retained denture, which makes use of two or more titanium implants to anchor the denture in place. The implants replace the roots of missing teeth, integrate with the jaw, and virtually become part of the jawbone. Implants help maintain jawbone mass and shape. Dentures or bridges can be secured to the implants, allowing the wearer to eat comfortably and with confidence.
What is a dental bridge?
A dental bridge is a fixed appliance used to replace one or more missing teeth. A bridge may be necessary to prevent shifting of the teeth which can lead to bite problems (occlusion) and/or jaw problems. The appliances are cemented into place and cannot be removed by the patient.
How is a dental bridge constructed?
The bridge is constructed of three or more crowns that are fused together covering the open space as well as the teeth on either side of the missing tooth, hence, "bridging" the gap. There is a pontic (false tooth) for every missing tooth being replaced and what's called an abutment tooth for every supporting tooth. Similar to when a crown is prepped, there is a waiting period. You will wear an acrylic temporary restoration for approximately three weeks while the lab customizes your bridge. This procedure typically takes two appointment.