What is a Dental Implant Bridge, and When the Patient May Need One?

dental lab technician working on a dental bridge

When it comes to replacing missing teeth, there are several methods available to restore your smile. One popular option is a dental implant bridge – a type of restoration consisting of a prosthetic tooth supported by two dental crowns attached to dental implants.

This practical and long-lasting solution is an ideal choice for many of your dental patients, and in this blog post, you’ll see what to tell them about dental implant bridges and when they may be the right choice.

We’ll cover topics such as the advantages of choosing a dental implant bridge, the different types of dental bridges, and how long they can last. So read on to learn more about this effective solution for missing teeth.

What is a Dental Implant Bridge?

 An implant bridge is a type of dental restoration consisting of two dental crowns attached to an artificial tooth (known as a pontic) in between them. The crowns are affixed to a dental implant embedded in the jawbone to replace one or more missing teeth.

Discover Keating’s Crown and Bridge services.

Implant bridges help to maintain facial structure, reduce stress on other teeth, and prevent bone loss in the jawbone.

Read more: Dental Bridges VS Implants: What Should You Say to Your Patients?

Why and When Might a Patient Need a Dental Bridge?

Bridges provide a comfortable replacement for missing teeth and help to distribute bite forces more evenly, leading to improved oral health. They can also improve the appearance of a patient’s smile, as the prosthetic can be designed to match the color and shape of surrounding teeth.

Patients with one or more missing teeth may benefit from a dental bridge. Missing teeth can be replaced with bridges that are secured to either adjacent teeth (called an abutment) or to dental implants embedded into the jawbone.

Dental bridges are also often used to cover large areas of tooth decay or to restore a weakened bite.

When considering a dental bridge, the patient’s overall oral health should be considered. Healthy bone structure, remaining teeth, and gums are all important factors in determining whether a bridge is suitable.

In cases where dental implants are used, a patient should have enough bone in the jaw to support the implant.

Different types of dental bridges

The type of bridge suitable for a patient depends on their specific needs. Different bridge options, such as resin-bonded, Maryland-bonded, or Cantilever bridges, are available.

The option chosen will depend on the extent of the patient’s damage, the position of their missing teeth, and the size and shape of the teeth around them.

Dental bridges are a great option for patients who are missing one or more teeth, and can provide a comfortable replacement and improved aesthetics. Ensure to discuss your patient’s individual needs to determine the best solution for their specific case.

Discover all Keating’s services related to Crowns and Bridges:

Advantages of Dental Implant Bridges for Your Patients

Below, you can check the 5 advantages dental implant bridges have over traditional bridges.

1. Improved Function

An implant bridge offers improved stability and chewing function, as it can be securely attached to the jawbone with dental implants. In other words, it means a better quality of life for your patients.

This means it is not subject to shifting or loosening over time, unlike a traditional dental bridge, which can gradually lose its fit due to the weakening of teeth adjacent to the area of the missing teeth.

2. Durability

Unlike a traditional bridge, an implant bridge is extremely durable, as it is secured with dental implants fused to the jawbone.

3. Reduced Stress

A dental implant bridge reduces stress on the remaining teeth, as it uses the strength of the jawbone to support the bridge instead of relying on the adjacent teeth. This can help to preserve healthy teeth and reduce the risk of future dental problems.

4. Natural Look

A dental implant bridge offers a natural-looking result and can be designed to blend in with the patient’s existing teeth. The pontic (artificial tooth) is made of a material that closely resembles natural teeth, allowing for a discreet and aesthetically pleasing solution.

5. Improved Oral Health

Dental implant bridges help to preserve the jawbone, as they stimulate the bone and help to prevent bone loss in the jaw. This can help to reduce the risk of difficulties associated with missing teeth, such as the deterioration of facial structure or a weakened bite.

Learn more about all of Keating’s implant-related dental services:

Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Implant Bridges

How the treatment for implant bridge works?

The treatment for a dental implant bridge typically involves three stages: 

  1. Placement of the implant. This involves surgically placing the dental implants into the jawbone and allowing them to heal. During healing, the implant fuses to the bone, providing a strong and secure foundation for the prosthetic.
  2. Attaching the abutment. Once the implants have healed, the implant prosthetic is attached to the abutment, a connector between the implant and the pontic (artificial tooth).
  3. Fitting the dental bridge. The dental bridge is then attached to the abutment and is customized to match the patient’s existing teeth. Once complete, the bridge is permanently secured in place.

Overall, the procedure is safe and effective and typically does not require multiple visits. The treatment is highly successful, with a success rate of 98% for bridges supported by implants.

How long do implant bridges last?

Implant bridges can last up to 15 years or longer with appropriate care and regular check-ups. The longevity of an implant bridge depends on several factors, including the quality of the implant, the patient’s overall oral health, and the extent of use or wear and tear.

Good oral hygiene habits and regular professional dental visits are key to ensuring long-term success. In addition, it is important to avoid bad habits that could cause damage to the bridge, such as crunchy or sticky foods and grinding or clenching of the teeth.

Overall, implant bridges are a safe and effective restoration option to replace missing teeth and provide a permanent solution that can last many years with proper care.

How many teeth can be on an implant bridge?

The number of teeth that can be included in an implant bridge will vary depending on the patient’s needs. Generally, an implant bridge may replace up to three missing teeth, but the bridge may be extended to include up to four, five, six, or even more missing teeth in a row. 

If multiple missing teeth need to be replaced, an implant-supported bridge may be recommended as it is a fixed restoration that requires fewer implants than individual implants for each missing tooth.

The implants are then used to support the pontic (artificial tooth) in between them, allowing the bridge to replace multiple missing teeth in one go.

In addition, a partial bridge may replace multiple missing teeth with only two dental implants. This is generally recommended for cases with sufficient space between the remaining teeth and the adjacent teeth that are healthy and well-aligned.

Overall, the number of teeth that can be included in an implant bridge will depend on the specific needs of the patient and their oral health. It is important to ensure the implants are placed correctly and in the proper position to ensure the bridge is secure and long-lasting.