Dental implants are now considered the standard of care for those missing multiple teeth, especially if the teeth lost are in a row. When multiple teeth are missing it is crucial to replace them in order to prevent bone loss in the jaw and facial structure collapse. The only permanent solution to tooth loss that also restores aesthetics, function, and health, it’s no wonder why dental implants are so popular.
A dental bridge is a commonly used solution to replacing multiple teeth, however, a bridge is no longer considered the best treatment option.
Bridges require the permanent damage of the anchor teeth to which the bridge is attached. Such damage can cause the anchor teeth to fail as well due to the stress the bridge places on them. Studies have shown that bridges eventually lead to the loss of otherwise healthy teeth because of the unnecessary wear and tear.
Additionally, the bridge does nothing to preserve the jawbone, which, without the stimulation of the natural tooth, will begin to dissolve away.
Dental Implants are now considered the standard of care because the implant acts as a tooth root and its stimulation of the bone preserve the shape and integrity of the jaw.
The implant is made of titanium, which naturally integrates with the bone forming a permanent, strong replacement tooth. The implant cannot move or be removed so there is no longer a need to fear eating or speaking clearly.
When restoring multiple teeth in a row, your doctor will first consider placing implants where each tooth has been lost. These implants would function as your natural teeth and would be permanent restorations. However, not every patient will qualify for this many implants.
Immediately after a tooth has been lost or removed, the jawbone begins to deteriorate without the natural stimulation of the tooth root. If there is not enough bone left to place an implant, your doctor may suggest bone-grafting procedures to rebuild the bone or to place an implant supported bridge.
Implant supported bridges are similar to traditional bridges in that the prosthesis is attached to two anchor teeth, bridging the gap where a tooth is missing. However, with an implant-supported bridge, the prosthesis is anchored to two dental implants rather than healthy teeth. This procedure removes the risk and stress on the two healthy teeth that would have otherwise been damaged in order to support the prosthetic with a traditional dental bridge.
During the restoration process, two or more implants are placed. While the implant is integrating with the bone, a temporary restoration called a “flipper” is worn. The flipper acts as replacement teeth during the healing period. Healing generally takes about 4 to 6 months. Then, the fixed replacement teeth can be attached to the implants and the procedure is complete.