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DENTAL IMPLANTS vs A BRIDGE

Dental bridges have been used successfully to replace a single missing tooth or several missing teeth for many years and often provide excellent durability and aesthetics. However, in many cases bridgework necessitates the drilling and preparation of otherwise sound or lightly filled teeth either side of the missing tooth or teeth a bridge. Hence dental implants have gained polarity in the replacement of single and multiple missing teeth as they allow for restoration of the missing teeth without compromising the other teeth in a patient’s mouth. So dental implants often offer a more modern, conservative treatment method.

What are the benefits of implants versus a bridge?

The main advantage of single tooth implants versus a bridge is that the affected tooth or teeth can be replaced without any interference to the teeth on either side. Another significant benefit is oral hygiene: bridge teeth are joined together so it is more difficult to floss in between the teeth, unlike natural teeth or implant crowns.

Failed bridges replaced with single crowns on dental implants and teeth

Single tooth implant

Why bridgework fails?

Good quality bridgework that was fitted by an expert and that is well maintained should provide excellent long-term service. If a bridge fails it is usually due to decay or leakage under the crowns on the supporting teeth, or sometimes due to fracture of one or more of these teeth. If the cause can be successfully treated and the teeth are still maintainable, new bridgework can be made. If the supporting teeth are untenable, dental implant-supported crowns and/or bridges are usually recommended as an alternative solution.

Types of bridges

There are several different types of fixed bridgework or bridges:

  • Conventional bridge – usually cemented to a tooth at either side of a gap where teeth are missing
  • Cantilever bridge – cemented to one tooth next to a gap and replacing a single tooth
  • Resin-bonded bridges – can either fixed at both ends or cantilevered and is really only suitable for single missing teeth.
  • Removable bridges (can be taken out for cleaning) and are really a type of denture and can be used with precision attachments on the teeth or existing crowns.
  • Dental implant supported  fixed bridges – bridgework can also be made on dental implants and be fixed by being screwed to the implant or cemented to an abutment  (or post) on the implant.

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