An implant supported bridge is a dental restoration that replaces missing teeth by inserting two or more artificial titanium roots into the jaw bone and attaching artificial teeth to them. It is cemented in place and cannot easily be taken out.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What material is in an Implant Supported Bridge?
Bridges are usually made of four types of materials:
- Gold Alloy (commonly gold, platinum, palladium)
- Porcelain fused to an inner core of gold alloy
- Zirconia metal oxide
* Implants are made of titanium. Implant Abutments which attach the implants to the bridge are made of titanium or zirconia metal oxide.
2. What are the benefits of an Implant Supported Bridge?
- Bridges build back your smile and help you to speak and chew properly by restoring the natural size, shape and color of your teeth. They help maintain tooth, bite and jaw alignment by preventing remaining teeth from shifting out of position.
- There is no need to drill down existing teeth in order to replace the missing teeth as occurs with conventional tooth supported bridges.
- Long gaps where multiple teeth are missing can be treated effectively with implant supported bridges whereas long span natural tooth supported bridges have many negative consequences.
- As it is a cemented restoration similar to tooth supported bridges, the restoration of the implants is more straightforward which simplifies the laboratory procedures and is less expensive compared to more complex screw retained implant supported bridges.
3. What are the risks of an Implant Supported Bridge?
- If an implant screw loosens or any repair of the restoration becomes necessary, the restoration may be destroyed during the removal procedure if the cement seal cannot be easily broken.
- Cementing restorations onto implants leads to challenges in the removal of cement below the gum line, possibly leading to tissue inflammation in the area.
- Other possible complications may be such things as food entrapment and challenges in matching adjacent tooth aesthetics.
- There is a minimal risk of an implant not adhering to the jawbone and thus requiring removal and replacement.
- Chipped porcelain, worn metal or loose implant screws may require maintenance procedures, repair or replacement.
4. What are the alternatives to an Implant Supported Bridge?
- Replace the missing teeth with another type of implant supported restoration
- Replace the missing tooth with a conventional tooth supported bridge
- Replace the missing tooth with a removable partial denture
- Leave the space as is
5. How can an existing bite affect an Implant Supported Bridge?
- Excessive or uneven bite forces may cause porcelain chipping, metal wear, implant screw loosening, or even gum and bone loss around the implant.
- Severe bite issues such as habitual tooth grinding may cause premature failure of the dental restoration.
6. Are there any post-treatment limitations once I have an Implant Supported Bridge?
- Porcelain on the bridge may have a good color match with adjacent natural teeth when the bridge is placed but less of a match as your natural teeth age.
- Food may become lodged around the implant supported bridge; gum recession or minor bone loss around the top of the implant over time may make food impaction unavoidable, even with the most ideal bridge contour.
- Gum recession may also lead to unsightly metallic implant margins becoming visible.
- A bridge may chip or break if used for abnormal activities (e.g., biting fishing line, sewing thread or finger nails, opening bottles).