What are Implant Supported Bridges Made Of?
A dental bridge relies on the teeth on both sides of a row of missing teeth for support. These adjacent teeth are shaved down and sculpted so that they can comfortably accommodate dental crowns, which are used to support the bridge on either end. This damages existing tissue, which may already be compromised and therefore more susceptible to additional damage, and places undue stress on these teeth and the tissues that support them. An implant-supported bridge, on the other hand, relies on dental implants for support, sparing the natural teeth while enhancing the health of the bone and the oral cavity and encouraging the overall health of the patient.
All implant-supported bridges are made up of a few different parts. The key component of any implant-supported dental restoration, bridge or otherwise, is the dental implant or implants. Dental implants are posts made of medically compatible material, often titanium, and are surgically embedded in the jawbone, beneath the gums, where they function like tooth roots. The dental implant abutment is an attachment that is screwed onto the implant post and that attaches the implant to the bridge. These dental implant abutments can be made of a few different materials, including titanium, gold, and porcelain. The third part of any implant-supported restoration is the restoration itself, which is the dental prosthetic that looks like a natural tooth or teeth; in this case, this is the dental bridge. A dental bridge is made of tooth-colored material, often ceramic or porcelain, that matches the natural teeth in luster and color. Dental bridges and other dental prosthetics can be made of pure materials like zirconia or titanium, or they can be made of combinations of materials like ceramic or porcelain that is fused to metal for stability and support, or composite resin. Once the dental implant post and bone have healed following implant placement, the implant abutment is attached and the dental restoration is screwed onto the abutment. In some cases, implant-supported bridges can be crafted in a single visit, while some implant dentists outsource to dental technicians to craft custom bridges offsite. Among healthy patients with good oral hygiene, dental implants commonly have success rates higher than 95%, though proper oral hygiene is a crucial part of these success rates. While implants themselves can’t decay, the longevity and stability of dental implants depends in large part on the habits of the patient and their demonstrated ability to effectively maintain their oral health over time. Regular dental visits are important for every patient, but they’re particularly important for people with dental implants, for whom inflammation in the gums can have especially disastrous, expensive effects. It’s also important for implant wearers to avoid harmful habits like biting or chewing on hard items like ice, or habitually clenching or grinding the teeth, which can wear down the dental restoration or cause it to break. Your implant dentist will make sure you know how to properly care for your implant-supported bridge no matter what it’s made of, and you can play your part in keeping it healthy and helpful for the duration.