If you’re tired of feeling self conscious about missing teeth or wearing uncomfortable dentures, dental implants may offer a highly effective, fixed teeth replacement solution for deteriorated or missing teeth.
Permanent Fixed Bridge
A fixed implant supported bridge is a permanent freestanding solution to replace several missing teeth. Fixed bridge implants do not require the support of, or treatment of adjacent teeth. Replacement teeth are permanently anchored to dental implants offering improved stability and function compared with traditional dentures and bridgework.
Implant supported replacement teeth are fixed so they won’t move or slip when you smile or laugh and you can eat what you want without worrying about your teeth. They look, feel and function just like natural teeth – no one will ever know they’re not your own teeth.
Why Replace a Segment of Teeth with Dental Implants?
There are many contributing factors that cause teeth deterioration and loss, such as suffering an injury, developing gum disease, unconscious grinding and clenching or poor oral hygiene. Having several missing teeth is often not only an aesthetic problem affecting how you look or feel, but it can also be detrimental to your overall health and wellbeing.
Some examples may include:
- Misaligned bite – gaps left by missing teeth means your remaining teeth are susceptible to shifting and tilting. Misaligned teeth can cause bite problems, jaw pain such as TMJ, headaches and gum disease.
- Compromised strength and health of remaining teeth – when teeth are missing, the support of the bite and stability of remaining teeth may become significantly compromised. As the remaining teeth bear more of the chewing load, over time this causes more wear and tear on the teeth.
- Bone Loss – the jawbone serves as the foundation for your teeth. When teeth are lost, the underlying bone undergoes atrophy and begins to shrink, making your jaw weaker and smaller, often also leading to changes in your facial appearance.
- Decay and Gum Disease – missing teeth can lead to gum disease and decay. Food can collect more easily in gaps and pockets where teeth used to be, or get stuck in spaces between tilted teeth. As it may be more difficult to keep clean, plaque and bacteria can accumulate infecting the gums. Gum disease is an infection and if left untreated, may increase the risk for heart disease in susceptible persons.
To maintain good oral health and help prevent the risk of developing further aesthetic, functional and even health issues, consider replacing missing teeth with dental implants.
Course of treatment
This procedure normally includes four visits to our dental clinic and will require examination and x-rays of your teeth to determine your suitability for implant treatment. One of our implantologists will advise you on your options, given your specific condition and individual needs.
Visit 1: Examination & X-Rays
An Implant Dentist will perform a limited examination of your mouth, and take one or more x-rays to determine your suitability for an implant bridge. We might need you to see one of our other dentists to ascertain the health of your other teeth or to further explore alternatives that may help improve appearance, function or overall dental health. Where one or more teeth require removal, it is often preferable to place the implant fixtures at the same time as the extractions to minimize bone loss. Subsequently, a treatment plan and costing is prepared and given to you for consideration. Appointment Duration: 15-30 minutes
Visit 2: Installing the Dental Implant
Under local anesthetic or under sedation, your Implantologist will insert the teeth implants in the jawbone under the gum. This may be with keyhole surgery to minimize discomfort for suitable patients. Once in place, healing caps are inserted to cover the fixtures while they heal. Depending on the nature of your treatment, you may be able to work the day after having the teeth implants inserted, but we need to allow approximately 3 months for the bone to bond to the titanium fixture through osseointegration. During the healing process, a temporary solution may be provided, to reduce the impact on your function and appearance. In some cases it is possible to place an immediate temporary bridge attached to the implant at the same surgical visit. Appointment Duration: 30-60 minutes
Visit 3: Impressions and Final Aesthetics
Once it is confirmed that the teeth implants have successfully bonded with the bone, the temporary teeth or the healing screws are removed and an impression is taken to make the final permanent bridge that fits over the implants. At this stage your implantologist and his ceramics technician will determine the shape and color of your new teeth and confirm your aesthetic desires to help ensure that the end result meets your expectations. In some cases an additional ‘try-in’ appointment may be required to fine-tune the final aesthetics. Appointment Duration: 30 minutes
Visit 4: Smile Solution
The final step is to permanently insert the new dental bridge . The final step is to permanently insert the new implant bridge. The replacement teeth of the bridge are connected to each other, and the bridge is fitted in one piece over two or more fixtures. We aim to restore function and aesthetics to make your new teeth look and feel like natural teeth. Caring for the implant bridge involves the same daily oral hygiene routine as for natural teeth, including regular brushing and flossing. Our hygienist may also show you other ways to ensure long-term oral health. Appointment Duration: 30 minutes
Alternatives To a Fixed Bridge On Implants
Removable partial denture
Although not a permanent fixed solution this option is quite economical. The removable partial denture is made of plastic and may offer a satisfactory alternative for some. But the biggest disadvantages compared to a modern fixed solution are the functional limitations, aesthetics, compromised comfort, affects on speech and the potential further affect on the adjacent teeth due to the clasps on the teeth that are required to hold the denture in place.