Implant-Supported Bridge: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Person with Several Missing Teeth

Dental implants have become an increasingly popular treatment for people with several missing teeth. Outcomes are mostly satisfying, and techniques and equipment used to perform the treatment have become more sophisticated. Naturally, the procedure for multiple implants is more complex than a single-tooth implant. For people missing multiple teeth, using an implant-supported bridge is a common option. It acts like a regular dental bridge, but it is supported by posts which the dentist implants into the jawbone of a patient, instead of being fastened onto the remaining natural teeth.

What is an Implant-Supported Bridge?

An implant-supported bridge works like a conventional dental bridge, but instead of using adjacent teeth to support the fabricated bridge, titanium implants are used to offer a more permanent solution. An implant-supported bridge provides long-term restoration while maintaining the surrounding tissue and bone and replacing your missing teeth with natural-looking ones.

How Does It Work?

First, your dentist will assess your jawbone and determine how many implants it can support. It should not be too close to a nerve or your sinus cavity. In case all your front teeth are missing, your dentist may create a bridge that’s similar to a removable bridge, with an artificial crown suspended between two implant-supported clowns. This dental device will consist of the titanium implants, the abutment, a cylinder made of titanium, porcelain, or gold and the restoration, a series of artificial crowns that will replace missing teeth.

The first stage – and the most critical part of the treatment – is the implant process. This stage involves one or more surgeries to implant the posts into the jawbone where these integrate with existing tissue and bone. In some cases, bone grafting is necessary if there isn’t enough bone in the jaw to support the implants.

Once the implants fuse with the bone, the surgeon will place a healing cap for the duration of the restorative phase. During this phase, the surgeon will attach the porcelain bridge on the abutments. Through a series of checkups, your dentist will assess whether the bridge is a perfect fit. He or she will then recommend a special type of brush or floss designed to clean your bridge.

Am I a Suitable Candidate?

Having multiple missing teeth does not automatically make you a good candidate for the procedure. While the implants will be the ones supporting the bridge, you must still have healthy natural teeth and gums. If your mouth is not in good health, it may not be able to support the implants, resulting in the implants failing to integrate with existing bone structure.

Among current teeth replacement options for multiple missing teeth, an implant-supported bridge proves to be the most stable, secure and permanent. But more than that, it offers the best functionality, comfort, and aesthetic, comparable with your natural teeth.