Porcelain Bridges vs Dental Implants

Dental implants are surgical procedure vs a dental bridge in which a missing tooth is replaced utilizing your own teeth to replace missing tooth and restore function. General rule is that if you do have adjacent crowns or large restoration next to missing tooth with long roots, it is best to restore your missing tooth with a dental bridge preferably a porcelain bridge. If your adjacent teeth next to the missing teeth are virgin, meaning they are completely healthy then have dental implant. The restoration of porcelain bridge vs dental implants in front teeth depends on many factors, such as your lip line, meaning do you show gums when you smile? or  are the contours of your gums architecture symmetrical? do you have the room to place a dental implant? or you will need bone grafting? or orthodontics?  and many other factors.

Dental bridges do exactly that: they bridge the gap between missing teeth. When teeth are missing, other teeth may drift out of their natural position to fill the spaces. Also, these spaces leave your gums and remaining teeth open to tooth decay and periodontal disease due to shift and inclinations. A Porcelain bridge can replace the missing tooth, construct your bite (place the teeth in a more favorable axial inclination), possibly remove the interference in your bite, and avoid further breakdown of periodontal disease and trauma caused by shifted adjacent teeth.

Dr. Anthony Mobasser will create a dental bridge tailored to your bite, function and aesthetic needs. The bridge restores the missing tooth that will fuse between two porcelain crowns and fill in any existing space. The look and feel of the bridge must be natural and aesthetically pleasing.

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Porcelain dental bridges reduce your risk of gum disease, help correct various bite or occlusion issues and can even improve your digestion, speech and phonetics.

Who is a candidate for a Bridge vs Dental Implant:

You’ll want to consider a bridge if you already have crowns on adjacent teeth, or very large unsatisfactory fillings on the adjacent teeth, and the bone support is fairly good. However if the adjacent teeth are virgin teeth (no fillings), you want to consider a Dental Implant. If the adjacent teeth have no mobility (looseness), and the crown-to-root ratio is favorable, a porcelain bridge can be placed. However if the adjacent teeth are undermined, consideration for dental implant is necessary.
Understand that dental implants require surgery and healing time (between 2 to 6 months ), and the systemic medical condition of the patient plays a key role in the decision making. In some instances dental implants will require additional bone structure for support, in which case another surgery is needed for the Bone Grafting Surgical Procedure.

So if time or medical condition is an issue, a porcelain fixed bridge will be a more appropriate choice.
In some instances patients can have the dental implant procedure and have the dental bridge! In these situations the dentist is putting the dental implant to “sleep”. Although the implant is in the jaw bone, it is placed there in case the bridge fails due to periodontal reasons. Thus the patient can avoid another surgical procedure and subsequent healing time. Furthermore, the reconstructive dentist now activates and utilizes the implant already placed below the bridge.

Per Dr. Mobasser: it is best for the patient to see an expert dentist, and have a complete evaluation done BEFORE making a decision, so the patient is educated about all the options, the cost, time and any discomfort  (if any) before committing to the treatment.

TYPES OF Dental BRIDGES and Dental Implants

Traditional Fixed Bridges are actually cemented to two crowns on either side of the false tooth. Dr. Mobasser will use this procedure to replace one or more missing teeth. Unlike partial Removable dentures, fixed bridges cannot be removed. The choices of materials for dental bridges are feldspathic porcelain, bruxzir, emax, zirconia or lava and many other types of porcelain which can be extremely beneficial to you depending on your bite, cosmetic needs, and longevity of the restoration.

Resin Bonded Bridges primarily are used for your front teeth. This less expensive bridge works best when the teeth abutting your gap are healthy without large fillings, and the patient does not want any or very little tooth structure to be removed. Of course the longevity of this type of bridge is not equal to a conventional bridge, but the beauty is that the patient can always go to a dental implant procedure or fixed bridge later on if necessary.

Dr. Mobasser will fuse your new missing tooth with either porcelain or composite, which are bonded to the abutting teeth (adjacent teeth) with an invisible composite resin bonding. A resin-bonded bridge requires very little preparation or shaping from the adjacent teeth.

Cantilever Bridges describes replacing teeth in areas of less stress, such as your front or back teeth, if there is no back tooth to support the conventional bridge. Only healthy and strong teeth must be utilized for this procedure as it anchors your missing tooth to one or both sides of your natural teeth. In some cases Cantilever bridges are placed on dental implants depending on how long the implants are, and if they allow the support of cantilevering a missing tooth or teeth.

If you practice proper oral hygiene, and keep up preventative visits with your doctor, both fixed and cantilever bridges may last as many as 10 years or more.

Types Of Dental Implants, and when to Use:
Generally there are two types of dental implants: those made of titanium or Zirconia. The titanium implants have more research behind them, tend to work very well, and generally as of to date are used in United States. Zirconia implants have been mostly used throughout Europe, not as much in the U.S. For patients who do not want any metal, generally speaking Zirconia is chosen. Also Zirconia implant posts are definitely the material of choice if the restoration required is in the esthetic zone (front teeth) per Dr. Mobasser. This is because the color is not black, and placing an esthetic crown or bridge using ALL porcelain crowns (metal free) on Zirconia posts is more aesthetically pleasing.

Dental Bridge PROCEDURE:

The process begins with Preparation of your adjacent teeth. After applying a mild anesthetic, the dentist will remove and shape a portion of each tooth to create the space specific to the thickness of the porcelain needed. He may leave some healthy fillings, or build up the tooth  in place so to serve as a foundation for the new dental bridge.

Next, an impression of the prepared teeth, which will serves as a model for the dental lab creating your custom tailored bridge. Per Dr. Mobasser the newly fabricated bridge must restore form and function, and care must be taken not to make the teeth bigger or thicker, to avoid more force of bite being exerted on the roots, hence causing future breakdown. Next, the patient is educated on proper care of the bridge, via floss threaders, to remove plaque and bacteria.

A temporary bridge is always fabricated to protect your teeth and gums until your next visit.

At your next visit, the dentist will place your final bridge and check for proper fit before adjusting for any bite discrepancies.

PROS AND CONS of Dental Bridges vs Dental Implants
The Benefit of dental bridges is that they are long lasting, have a natural appearance and usually require only two visits to be fabricated. You can get your bridge within 5 days, no surgery is needed, therefore no healing time or possible complications.

A disadvantage is that your teeth may be mildly sensitive to extreme temperatures for a few weeks after your new bridge has been installed. Also, it does require shaping of the adjacent teeth; however if the adjacent teeth contain unsatisfactory large fillings or a dental crown, then this is not a disadvantage.

The pros of Dental Implant procedure is that it can be a great help for people with no teeth in the back to anchor a bridge, and if the adjacent teeth are virgin, no damage or shaping is done to the adjacent teeth.

The cons of a dental implant is the requirement of adequate bone. Otherwise, bone grafting is needed, especially in the rear upper jaw area where the sinuses are located, or if the bone has receded due to age or infected extraction, or periodontal disease.

The other con is that it is a surgical procedure, and may have complications, and enough healing time must be allowed for osseous integration. Finally there is a possibility of failure of the implant.

The more conservative the dentist’s  approach to treatment  and the least invasive the treatment plan, the better will be the prognosis.