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Is It Possible To Have Both a Bridge and Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a long-lasting and effective way to replace a missing tooth. When two or three teeth are missing, the dentist may recommend a dental bridge. Is possible to get the benefits of bridges and dental implants in a single dental restoration? Read on to discover the details surrounding a dental implant bridge and how it works.
Implant bridge basics
Fixed implant bridges use dental implants embedded in the jawbone as support to hold a tooth-like restoration (known as a bridge) and replace missing teeth. The bridge restores teeth functions and appearance, and the dental implants help to preserve the jawbone and surrounding teeth. When more than one tooth is missing, using implants and bridges is often the smart choice for dental restoration. Unlike traditional bridges that connect to nearby teeth for support and can be removed for cleaning, fixed implant bridges connect to dental implants for a long-lasting and stress-free solution that looks and functions like natural teeth.
The advantage of implant bridges over regular dental bridges
Dental implants have many benefits over other teeth replacement options. Aside from functioning and looking like natural teeth, implant-supported bridges replace lost teeth without relying on or affecting the adjacent natural teeth. Since the implant bridge stands in place of lost tooth roots, the bone is also better preserved. If a dental bridge is used alone, the bone around the lost tooth will begin to deteriorate due to lack of stimulation. The dental implants inside the jawbone replace the stimulation to keep the bone healthy and intact.
The treatment procedure
To start the procedure of placing a fixed implant bridge, an oral surgeon will insert dental implants into the jawbone to function as the tooth's root and serve as a firm foundation for the bridge. Dental implant placement techniques have improved over the years, and sometimes, patients can leave the dental office with a temporary bridge on the day of surgery.
After placing the screw-like implant into the jaw, the patient will need to wait for two to six months for the implants and bone to fuse. During that period (also called osseointegration), the patient will rely on the temporary bridge placed over the implants for dental functions. The osseointegration process is important to ensure the implants can withstand biting and chewing forces.
After the implant integrates with the bone, the oral surgeon will attach abutments to the implants to serve as a connector for the new teeth. This entails uncovering the implants. Afterward, the gums will need two to three weeks to heal. Some implant systems do not require this step, however. In cases like this, the implant already has the extensions (abutment) connected, and the oral surgeon will recommend the best option for the individual patient.
Finally, the permanent bridge will be fabricated by the dental lab and attached to the abutment. With the support of the dental implant, the patient will have viable teeth replacement and regain the ability to chew, speak and smile confidently.
A dental implant bridge has many advantages over traditional bridges and other forms of tooth replacement. If you are interested in a dental implant bridge, the first step is to discuss with your dentist whether it is a suitable option for your personal dental needs.
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