Multiple Tooth Replacement
Missing teeth may be replaced with multiple single-tooth implant restorations (as described in the Single Tooth Replacement section), or with an implant-supported implant bridge. An implant-supported bridge works the same way an implant-supported crown does. The implant is surgically embedded in the jawbone, creating an anchor for the custom-made bridge. Filling the space left by missing teeth helps to stimulate bone growth and preserve the jawbone.
After healing, the abutments (posts) are attached to the implants. A custom-made bridge made at our dental laboratory to mold and match to your existing teeth, is then cemented onto the abutments. The teeth have been replaced without disturbing the healthy teeth next to them.
Some of the advantages of Implant-Supported Crowns or Bridgework include:
- They are easier to clean and floss than traditional crown and bridgework
- They look, feel and function like natural teeth
- Natural biting and chewing capacity is restored
- They are much more comfortable and stable than partial dentures
- They preserve natural tooth tissue by avoiding the need to cut down adjacent teeth for conventional bridgework
- They preserve bone and significantly reduce bone resorption and deterioration that results in loss of jawbone height (no sagging of the jawline)
- They reduce the load on the remaining oral structures/teeth by offering independent support and retention to crowns and bridgework
- Long-term data on implants suggest that implants last for a much longer time than conventional restorations on teeth
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Traditional Crown & Bridgework Therapy
In the past, missing teeth were replaced in one or two ways: with a tooth-supported bridge or a removable partial denture.
A TOOTH SUPPORTED BRIDGE requires the healthy teeth adjacent to the missing teeth be cut down into peg shapes. Several crowns fused together are then anchored onto the pegs using cement.
CONS INCLUDE: 1.) Destruction of healthy teeth to create anchors for the bridge 2.) Bone loss due to nothing filling the gap beneath the gumline 3.) Plaque buildup below the margins of the crowns leading to decay of the bridge and anchoring teeth 4.) Additional decay of anchor teeth due to the additional stress of supporting the bridge 5.) Short life span – 10 years (Bridge needs to replace if anchoring teeth decay)
A REMOVABLE PARTIAL DENTURE involves filling the gap where the missing teeth were with replacement teeth attached to a pink or gum-colored plastic base, which is connected by metal framework and snap on to existing teeth.
CONS INCLUDE: Acceleration of the bone resorption process in areas without teeth, leading to bone atrophy (deterioration). Additionally, the clasps holding the denture in place puts extreme pressure on the gums and the natural teeth they hook onto, weakening the jawbone and loosening the teeth, leading to additional tooth loss. Many patients complain that they are unsightly, painful and that they rarely wear them.