An implant bridge is a method in which a section of an existing tooth is removed by cutting it into two pieces called the crown and the root. The bridge entails placing implants on both sides of the missing or extracted teeth to support “pontics,” false teeth fixed between them.
The everyday use of this type of bridge replaces missing back teeth. Two implants usually support the bridge, one on each side of the gap, placed in the jawbone (mandible) or under (maxilla). Each implant functions like a tooth root. If there are enough implants in good condition and in a stable position, they can support replacement teeth.
Implant Bridges Are Used For
Bridges help with missing teeth in either the back or front of your mouth. They support crowns that act as replacements for the missing tooth/teeth. They work by using implants as anchors for the replacement tooth. These bridges have different types and styles, but they all follow the same principle: anchoring a ‘bridge-type false tooth onto two or more dental implants.
A bridge can help restore a portion of the mouth that is missing one or more teeth. A dental implant acts as a new root for a false tooth, so it no longer has to rely on surrounding natural teeth for support. This helps prevent surrounding teeth from becoming loose or shifting out of place.
If you have lost some height due to advanced periodontal disease, implants can be used to restore the height of your mouth to normal. This prevents other teeth from shifting out of place to compensate for this lost height.
If you have an existing bridge with several missing teeth, implants can also be used to stabilize the existing bridge by providing support for it through more anchors on either side of the bridge. These implants inserted on either side of the bridge prevent as much shifting as possible.
Types of Bridges
There are several different types of bridges. They can all use implants to help with providing additional support for a replacement tooth, but the extent to which they do this varies depending on the type and style of bridge used. Examples include:
Traditional Fixed Dental Bridge
The standard bridge that everyone is familiar with uses two or more implants to provide the necessary anchor to hold a replacement tooth. These bridges require a large amount of anchorage from the implants to provide support. The benefit is that they can replace teeth that have one or more missing teeth on either side of the bridge.
Implant Supported Overdenture
These bridges do not use traditional implants as much as mini implants. These are often used for people who have lost a lower front tooth and do not want to get a traditional bridge due to aesthetic reasons. Mini implants are often used in cases where one or more teeth are missing on either side of the bridge.
Clip-On Dental Bridge
These are used to replace missing teeth on either side of existing dental implants. The clip-on bridge uses two or more mini implants to anchor the false tooth in place. These often have clips on the back to be used to replace missing front teeth.
Mini Dental Bridges
These bridges are usually placed at the back of your mouth and use only one implant to support the bridge because the false tooth doesn’t have as much weight as one used in other areas. They are great for people who have a moderate number of missing teeth, as well as those who do not want the aesthetic look of traditional implants at the back of their mouth.
Implant Bridge Installation Procedure
An implant procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia and can significantly reduce the time it takes to replace a single tooth with an implant. It starts by first placing the implants into your jawbone (mandible) or under it (maxilla). Dental implants function like natural teeth roots, so they are very stable. They are placed in the jawbone through an implantation process that takes 6-8 months to integrate into the bone fully.
Once your implants have integrated well into the jawbone, you will return to your dentist for a second appointment, where they will check your gums and examine your palate for adequate stability. Once it has been determined that your implants are well-fixed into the jawbone, they can start the procedure to prepare the implants for placing the false teeth.
Once your palate is x-rayed and checked for adequate stability, they will remove tissue in between adjacent implants to create space for your false teeth to be placed in between them. This creates the appearance of a “bridge” with several teeth in between.
With so many options available for replacement teeth, it can be challenging to determine which one is the best choice; if you have a moderate number of missing teeth and want a solution that will provide a natural appearance, implant-supported bridges may be your best option.