Are you missing a row of teeth? A tooth bridge can complete your smile – but which type should you choose? Advances in dentistry have made it possible to support restorations with dental implants. At Platinum Dental Care, we offer both traditional and implant-supported tooth bridges. Read on to learn more about these treatment options and find out which one is the optimal solution for your situation.
The Importance of Replacing Missing Teeth
Missing teeth can have a significant negative impact on your oral health. In addition to making your smile appear less attractive, it compromises your bite and chewing function as well. Your teeth work together with your gums, jaw joints, and other oral maxillofacial structures. When one of these elements is not working as it should, your oral health can suffer. In fact, gaps in your smile can cause the adjacent teeth to shift, eventually increasing your risk for tooth erosion, bruxism (teeth grinding), and TMJ disorder, among other things. Therefore, when you lose a tooth, it is important to replace it for optimal oral health.
About Traditional Tooth Bridges
Traditional tooth bridges have been a mainstay in dentistry for decades. Crafted from a single block of ceramic porcelain – or another dental material – a conventional bridge consists of two dental crowns on the ends, with an artificial tooth (or teeth) in the middle. In order to place the restoration, the natural teeth on either side of the gap will need to be drilled and reduced, so that the crowns can fit properly.
Generally, traditional bridges should only replace one to three teeth. (The longer the restoration, the weaker it becomes.) If you are missing more than three teeth in a row, we may help you explore alternative options.
About Implant-Supported Tooth Bridges
By design, an implant-supported tooth bridge is nearly identical to its traditional counterpart. The primary difference is that implant-supported bridges are connected to dental implants rather than natural teeth. This is beneficial for several reasons. First, dental implants not only replace the crowns of the missing teeth, they also replace the roots. Because the implants stimulate the jawbone, just as natural teeth roots do, they help to prevent bone atrophy over time. Secondly, implant-supported restorations do not compromise natural tooth structure. In contrast to traditional bridges, there is no need to drill or reduce the adjacent teeth. Therefore, your natural tooth structure is left fully intact.
Dental Implants are an Investment in your Oral Health
When considering implant dentistry, patients tend to worry about two primary things: cost and healing time. Dental implants are generally more costly than traditional restorations. However, they can last a lifetime with proper care. In contrast, traditional bridges last between five to 15 years on average.
Dental implants typically require several months of healing before a restoration can be connected. This allows time for the implants to fuse to the jawbone, a process known as osseointegration. During the healing phase, we will provide you with a temporary restoration, so you will not have any gaps in your smile. While implant-supported tooth bridges typically take longer, most patients agree it is well worth it.
Explore Your Tooth Replacement Treatment Options
If you are trying to decide between a traditional tooth bridge and a dental implant bridge, schedule a consultation at our Toronto, ON dental practice. During your visit, we can help you determine which option will deliver the results you desire.