Dental Bridges: Crown-Supported and Implant-Supported Options

Jul 22, 2014 @ 12:30 PM — by Charles A. Porter III, DDS

An older woman smiles while relaxing on the floorDr. Charles A. Porter has helped numerous patients in and around Charlotte who are missing teeth. Dr. Porter takes these matters seriously since tooth loss affects dental aesthetics as well as general health. Dental bridges are a solid option for patients missing multiple teeth, and it's a topic we'd like to explore in a little more detail right now.

About Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are dental appliances that help fill the gap that is left behind when a person is missing multiple teeth in a row. The bridges restore the appearance of a smile and also provide full functionality, allowing patients to bite and chew as they normally would.

While dental bridges come in removable form, they can also be held in place by dental implants or dental crowns. These supported forms of dental bridges are more stable than the removable form. Let's now compare implant-supported and crown-supported dental bridges.

Implant Dentistry to Support Dental Bridges

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically embedded into the root structure and gum tissue of a tooth gap. When dental implants are in place, they can be used to support various kinds of dental appliances.

In addition to providing excellent support for dental bridges, the dental implants will prevent bone loss and gum recession from occurring in the area of the tooth gap. Both of these are serious dental health issues that cannot be addressed without the use of dental implants.

Ideal Candidates for Implant-Supported Dental Bridges

The best candidates for implant-supported dental bridges are people who have sufficient jawbone density and gum tissue density to support the implants. They should be in good overall dental health and have realistic expectations about the months-long healing process involved.

If patients do not have sufficient jawbone or gum tissue density, bone and/or soft tissue grafting procedures can be performed in order to build up these structures. It should be noted that such grafting surgeries will add additional months to the treatment process since the augmented bone or gum tissue must fully heal before progressing with the implant dentistry process.

Dental Crowns to Support Bridges

Crown-supported dental bridges refers to the use of dental crowns placed on teeth adjacent to the tooth gap to support a dental bridge. The dental crowns are caps that fit over a tooth and look totally natural. When a dental bridge is supported by crowns, it essentially means that the bridge and crowns are joined together and span the tooth gap in that way. The crowns on the healthy teeth adjacent to the gap provide an excellent amount of stability.

Ideal Candidates for Crown-Supported Dental Bridges

The best candidates for crown-supported dental bridges are people who have a tooth gap book-ended between healthy, natural teeth. They should be in good overall health and have realistic expectations about the treatment process and what it entails.

Crown-supported dental bridges will require the removal of some healthy tooth structure on the teeth adjacent to the tooth gap. It's important that these matters be taken into account when considering a patient's need for advanced dental care.

Other Options to Address Missing Teeth

If a patient is missing most or all of his or her teeth, a dental bridge will usually not be a good option for care, whether supported by dental implants or crowns. In those cases, the ideal option for treatment will involve the use of a full denture. The full denture may be removable or supported by dental implants.

During your consultation, we will be able to determine the ideal tooth replacement option for you and your dental health needs.

Learn More About Restorative Dentistry

If you are missing teeth and would like to learn more about all of your options for treatment, it's important that you contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Dr. Porter will help you get the dental treatment that best meets your needs.

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