What Is a Bridge?
A bridge is a set of connected replacement teeth that is permanently connected to the existing surrounding teeth. In order to properly place the bridge, your prosthodontist must first grind down the surround teeth. This allows for the bridge to fit over them. It is then attached with dental cement. While meant to be a permanent solution, bridges can occasionally come loose and even fall out.
Why Dental Implants?
Dental implants are titanium posts that are fused to your jaw. Abutments are installed on the implants and your replacement teeth are attached to them. Implants save your existing teeth from being ground down and having false teeth cemented to them. They can also help the jawbone. When you suffer tooth loss, the bone surrounding the missing teeth begins to deteriorate. Implants can actually slow and even stop the bone from degrading.
In this method, one implant is placed for each individual missing tooth. Each implant acts as a root to which individual crowns are attached. After surgery, you are given temporary crowns while you heal. After the healing process is complete, you will be given your individual permanent replacement teeth. These teeth are screwed or glued onto the abutments.
Implant Supported Bridge
This bridge is meant to replace three or more teeth and can be supported on one or more implants. The amount of implants necessary will be determined by your prosthodontist, Dr. Keith or Dr. Gibbs, at your initial examination. Rather than creating individual crowns for your missing teeth, the crowns are connected together to form the bridge. A temporary bridge is given after surgery for healing. After healing, you are fit for and given a permanent bridge, which is supported by the implants, rather than by the surrounding teeth. This crown looks and functions just like real teeth.
The Replacement Process
Before you receive your dental implants, you will receive a complete examination from your prosthodontist, which will include x-rays and a CT scan. This will also assess the condition of your jawbone. You will have an impression taken so a temporary prosthetic can be created. On the day of your surgery, any remaining ruined teeth will be removed. Then the necessary amount of holes will be drilled and implants placed. Depending on how many have been replaced, it may be recommended that you eat soft foods. While you heal, you will visit with your dentist several times to ensure your implants are healing properly. After healing, your permanent replacements will be screwed in, leaving you with a set of strong, real-looking teeth.
Tooth loss can be devastating, no matter how many you lose. Not only can it affect your daily life, it can affect your self confidence. You could get a bridge, but that solution would require you to grind down perfectly good teeth and have the bridge cemented down over them. You also risk the bridge coming loose. Instead, for a strong, permanent solution that preserves your perfectly healthy remaining teeth, take a look at dental implants. Call us at (925) 266-3550 to learn more.