Just like a single tooth replacement, dental implants provide a more permanent healthier solution for tooth replacement than other alternate treatment options. When a patient has one or more teeth that are missing; the common treatment options are a tooth supported bridge, removable partial dentures or an implant supported bridge. In a multi-tooth replacement procedure, the benefits of a dental implant supported bridge become much more obvious as a more permanent and functional solution to tooth lose than the alternatives.
Implant Supported Bridge vs. Tooth Supported Bridge
Just like in single tooth replacement procedures, a tooth supported bridge uses the adjacent teeth to support the replacement crown. This is done by grinding down the supporting teeth into a peg that is designed to hold the cemented bridge into place. Over time, this procedure often leads to additional issues for the supporting teeth including decay, root canals and the overall failure of the bridge. An implant supported bridge, on the other hand, utilizes the jaw bone directly under the missing tooth. This process allows the patient to maintain their existing jaw bone structure while promoting bone growth near the implant and the adjacent teeth. Another major benefit to an implant supported bridge is that the surrounding teeth are left in their natural state which significantly reduces the need for future dental work related to the replacement procedure.
Implant Supported Bridge vs. Removable Partial Dentures
The major downside to a removable partial denture is that since the jawbone underneath the missing natural teeth is no longer needed or utilized; this procedure actually accelerates the bone resorption process which leads to more rapid bone lose. In addition to bone lose underneath the missing teeth, the clasps used to hold the partial denture in place applies extreme pressure on the gums and the remaining natural teeth that they attach to. This process can weaken the jawbone and potentially lead to loss of additional teeth.
Where as, in the same case as individually placed dental implants, an implant supported bridge utilizes the existing jawbone to support the replacement crowns. The process not only eliminates bone loss but it is known to stimulate additional bone growth in the areas where the natural missing teeth were. Another benefit in utilizing the existing jaw bone for support is that the surrounding healthy natural teeth remain and there is no unnecessary discomfort.
The advantages of an implant supported bridge over other traditional replacement options:
- A much more natural look, feel and function
- A stronger bite that provides chewing that is much closer to a natural tooth
- Easier maintenance and cleaning
- They are much more comfortable and stable than partial dentures
- Adjacent natural teeth are not compromised (ground down into peg shapes or loosened)
- Dental implants virtually stop the bone resorption process (deterioration)
- The integrity of the facial structures are maintained (no sagging jaw line)