Losing permanent teeth can be disheartening, especially when the remaining gaps are visible to others. Today, two of the most viable options for addressing missing teeth are fixed dental bridges and dental implants. Understanding the difference between these two options can help you determine which of these solutions will meet your needs.
A Fixed Dental Bridge: What Is It?
A fixed dental bridge is just that, a semi-permanent bridge designed to close the gap the missing tooth has left between the remaining teeth.
A bridge consists of:
- Crowns – Crowns are placed over the natural teeth that remain on either side of the gap. These remaining natural teeth are referred to as the ‘abutment teeth’.
- An Artificial Tooth (Pontic) – Since this dental prosthesis replaces the tooth that is missing, the false tooth is suspended between the crowned abutment teeth. The artificial tooth can be made from a variety of materials including gold, porcelain, and alloys.
A Dental Implant: What Is It?
Previously, a fixed dental bridge was the only non-removable option for replacing missing teeth. However, the introduction of the dental implant gave patients with missing teeth another non-removable option. Furthermore, for those who prefer to remove their teeth, or who would like to have the option to do so, implants can even be used to support removable dentures.
A dental implant consists of:
A Titanium Screw – This screw is unique in that it can bond with natural bone, essentially becoming part of the jawbone: This process is referred to as osseointegration. The screw serves as the root for the artificial tooth that will eventually be placed on top. The number of titanium screws a patient receives depends on the number of teeth being replaced.
For some patients, an entire upper or lower arch of teeth can be replaced with just four of these artificial roots. All the screws are surgically placed and once the screw has bonded with the jawbone, a second appointment is made. During this appointment, a connector, which is referred to as an abutment, is secured on top of each screw.
An Artificial Tooth – Once the inflammation from the implant surgery has subsided, depending on the number of teeth being replaced, a single crown or a set of teeth is created.
These teeth are custom-designed for each patient. The teeth may consist of monolithic Zirconia, acrylic fused to titanium, and porcelain.
Well cared for dental implants can last a lifetime, but fixed dental bridges usually have a five to 15-year lifespan.
If you have a missing tooth or missing teeth that you would like to replace, contact Canby Dental to schedule an appointment with an experienced dental surgeon today. Please call the office at (818) 343-4024 or, if you prefer, you can use our online form to request an appointment by clicking here.