Missing teeth may lead to additional dental issues, but implants and bridges can restore your smile and enhance your dental and overall health.
What is Dental implant?
The dental implant is a surgical fixture that is inserted in the jawbone and allowed to attach with the bone for a few months. The dental implant is a substitute for the root of the missing tooth. In exchange, this “artificial tooth root” is used to carry a replacement tooth or bridge. Having a dental implant fused to the jawbone is the closest thing to imitating a natural tooth since it stands on its own without damaging the nearby teeth and has great stability.
The process of fusion between the dental implant and the jawbone is called osseointegration. Most dental implants are made of titanium, which helps them to blend into the bone without being known as a foreign object in our body. Technology and research have evolved over time to significantly enhance the results of dental implant placement. Today, the success rate for dental implants is close to 98%.
Dental implant Procedure
An implant is normally the preferred choice for the replacement of a single tooth. Placing an implant requires careful planning to determine the amount of bone in which the implant is inserted to ensure that sufficient support for the implanted tooth is provided.
We may take Cone Beam CT scan(CBCT) of your teeth to see the amount and shape of the bone available for the implant and to take impressions of your teeth. If your jawbone is sufficient, the dentist can use a computer to make models of your jaw to simulate the implant prior to the actual procedure. This will increase the precision of the insertion and minimise the amount of tissue disrupted during the implant process.
If your jawbone does not accommodate an implant, we will increase it with bone or bone-like material during surgery. You’ll need to wait a few months for the bone to heal before you get an implant.
The next move is to place the titanium screw which replaces the root of the tooth in your jaw. The screw is fitted with a cap that looks like a little stud in your gum. In the next few weeks, your jawbone will expand around the screw to anchor it securely in place, and your gum will heal.
In the final step, the dentist will make sure that the implant is securely in place. He or she will remove the screw cap and replace it with a titanium abutment or a post. A porcelain crown designed to fit your surrounding teeth will be cemented or screwed onto the base.
What is Dental Bridge?
A bridge—which consists of artificial teeth fused to a metal frame—is a good way to replace a few teeth. The frame is cemented to support—either implants or healthy teeth protected by crowns. The more teeth are removed, the more natural teeth or implants are required to provide the bridge with the necessary support.
Dental Bridge Procedure
Having a bridge is a quicker procedure than getting an implant, but it also involves a number of visits; one for imaging and impressions, one for preparing crown teeth and fitting a temporary bridge, and another for fitting a permanent bridge.
Dental implant vs. bridge
Dental implants and bridges can theoretically produce natural-looking outcomes, but they do have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a look at how these two tooth replacement choices are compared.
The Advantages of Dental Implants over Dental Bridge
The initial cost of treatment is lower for dental bridges when compared to dental implants; however, the cost of dental implants works out to be cheaper over the long term than dental bridges if you take the following factors into consideration
Tooth preparation for bridge placement involves mutilation of teeth that will support the bridge (abutment teeth). Any mutilation of tooth structure leads to compromise in the structural integrity of the tooth. Dental implants are very similar to normal teeth to the extent of even mimicking their root structure. They do not require any form of preparation of adjacent teeth.
Secondary dental caries in abutment teeth is possible after several years in the case of bridges if oral hygiene is not scrupulously maintained at the bridge-abutment tooth interface. This could lead to loss of abutment teeth with the need to fabricate new dental bridges. Dental implants are stand alone units and are completely immune to problems such as caries that plague natural teeth; however, dental implants also require maintenance of meticulous oral hygiene as gum disease can lead to loss of bony support for the dental implant.
Abutment teeth can also become mobile over the years due to excessive occlusal loads. This could again lead to loss of these teeth thus requiring new dental bridges. Dental implants are immensely strong and can bear occlusal loads that are equal to loads borne by natural teeth.
Bridges may have to be replaced several times over the lifetime of the patient while dental implants offer a permanent solution for lost teeth.