Tooth loss damages personal appearance, self-image and oral function. That’s why Drs. Waldee, Hohimer and Fien offer the best in dental prosthetics–dental bridges and dental implants–and guide their patients through choosing the perfect one. Here are answers to questions people ask about bridgework and dental implants during their restorative dentistry consultations at Comfort Dentists in Plantation, FL.
FAQs About Bridges & Implants
- What are dental bridges and dental implants? Dental bridges replace one, two or more teeth that are missing in a row. Crafted from quality, lifelike materials, bridges are comprised of artificial teeth anchored to natural teeth with porcelain crowns. Dental implants are artificial teeth, surgically placed directly into the jaw bone. Composed of a titanium metal screw, an extension post (abutment) and a customized porcelain crown, an implant looks and functions like a real tooth.
- Do bridges reside in the jaw bone the way implants do? No, they do not. Conventional bridgework rests on top of the gums. This prosthetic may be the treatment of choice for individuals who lack sufficient jaw bone to retain dental implants.
- Does bridgework keep the jaw bone strong? Conventional bridgework does not, but implant-supported bridgework does because the appliance is anchored to the jaw with multiple dental implants.
- How long does implant surgery take? Do implants hurt? Your dentist will place a dental implant during a simple in-office surgery. He incises the gums, inserts the titanium screw into the bone and closes the site with sutures. The surgery takes about an hour. Over the counter analgesics take care of any discomfort at home. After several weeks of healing, the dentist re-opens the site and attaches an extension post and lifelike porcelain crown.
- Are dental implants right for me? Or should I choose conventional bridgework? Patients who have good overall health and oral health qualify. The patient’s jaw bone must be sufficiently dense and strong. Traditional bridgework works even if the bone has receded after tooth loss. Additionally, patients should consider their budgets. Dental implants are more expensive at the outset than traditional bridges. However, implants last a lifetime and rarely need replacement.
- Why is a dental implant stable? A dental implant is stable because human bone loves titanium metal. When the implant is inserted, the jaw bonds to it. This process is called osseointegration. Over time, the jawbone actually gets stronger. This is opposite to what happens after tooth loss and placement of a traditional bridge which simply rests on top of the gums.
- How successful are dental implants and bridges? Implant success rates are around 95 to 98 percent. Conventional bridgework is highly successful, too, but bridges typically require replacement after ten years or so because they simply wear out.
- How do patients care for implants and bridges? They brush twice a day and floss daily. While dental implants don’t decay, they can develop an infection similar to gum disease called peri-implantitis. Smokers and individuals who neglect brushing, flossing and getting routine oral exams and cleanings often get peri-implantitis. Careful flossing and brushing around a bridge’s artificial teeth and supporting crowns helps prevent decay and gum disease.
- If someone has substantial tooth loss, may he or she get dental implants? If his or her oral health is good and the bone is dense, implants can work. In fact, the team at Comfort Dentists uses multiple implants to support fixed bridgework or full dentures.
- Who is qualified to place dental bridges and implants? Our team of dentist is fully qualified in all phases of dental implant placement and bridgework. When selecting a dentist, always look for experience, advanced certifications, active membership in professional organizations and excellent patient reviews. At Comfort Dentists, Dr. Waldee, Hohimer and Fien have all four!
How Can We Help You?
If you need or anticipate tooth replacement, contact Comfort Dentists to set-up a consultation. We would love to answer all your questions and evaluate if implants or bridges are right for you.