Bridges are a reliable and relatively inexpensive way of dealing with the loss of one multiple teeth. Yet there are a lot of different ways in which bridges may be implemented. If you would like to improve your knowledge of the various types of bridges available, read on. This article will discuss the difference between implant-based bridges and removable bridges.
Implant Based Bridges
Implant-based bridges utilize the basic principles of dental implants. Yet they do so at a fraction of what it would cost to replace each missing tooth with its own implant. Instead, strategically located implants are used as supports for a single bridge. This bridge consists of multiple crowns that have been fused or mounted together into one piece. Implant-based bridges may be further broken down into two categories: fixed bridges and implant-supported fixed dentures.
Fixed bridges are commonly implemented for patients who are suffering from the loss of large numbers of their teeth, yet whose jaw has not suffered from any bone loss issues. This type of bridge is permanently affixed to the two implants, such that it cannot be removed except by a dentist. Implant-supported fixed dentures, which are used in the treatment of patients suffering from jaw bone loss, are also permanently attached to the implants.
The difference is that, in addition to restoring normal denture features, the fixed denture provides additional contouring and support to make up for the loss of bone structure. This helps to restore a more normal appearance to the lips, cheeks, and other facial structures affected by the bone loss.
In general, both varieties of implant based bridges require that between four and six implants be placed in the mouth, in order to provide the needed stability for the bridge. In some cases, installing this many implants is simply not feasible. This may be because there is not enough bone support. It may also be because the patient cannot afford this more expensive procedure.
In either of those cases, removable bridges offer a strong alternative. As their name would imply, removable bridges are not permanently affixed in the mouth. Also commonly referred to as an overdenture, a removable bridge utilizes either existing teeth or a pair of implants as attachment points for the bridge to be clipped into place.
It is important to realize that the removal of removable bridges is not an optional feature. Rather they must be taken out and clean on a daily basis, much like dentures. Unlike dentures, however, most patients find that it is much easier to ensure that a removable bridge stays firmly in place all day long.