Sometimes called a fixed partial denture, bridges are used to replace missing teeth with artificial teeth. Bridges can be made of gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination. Dentists anchor them onto surrounding teeth after preparing them for crowns. Then a false tooth joins to the crowns and the bridge is cemented onto the prepared teeth. Only your dentist can remove a fixed bridge.
The success of your bridge depends upon its foundation. So, remember that oral hygiene to keep remaining teeth healthy is particularly important if you wear a bridge.
Implants require an involved and expensive cosmetic dentistry procedure but are a long-term solution for replacing missing teeth. They are an alternative to bridges -- which use adjacent teeth as anchors -- and to removable dentures, which rest on your gums. A surgeon implants them surgically into the jawbone.
Implants have three parts:
- Titanium metal, which fuses to the jawbone
- An abutment, which fits over the part of the implant that sticks out from the gums
- The crown, which a special restorative dentist creates for a natural, tooth-like appearance
You can get an implant to replace a tooth. Or two or more implants can provide a stable support for replacing several teeth. If you have bone loss from periodontal disease or lost teeth, the surgeon will likely need to first graft bone so the implant has something to secure to.
Having implants requires several steps, including:
- A comprehensive exam, X-rays, and consultation
- Surgical implantation of the titanium screws
- Taking impressions of the upper and lower jaws
- Making a model for the creation of the dentures or crowns
- Placement of the crown
- Follow-up exams with members of your implant team
Other Periodontal Plastic Procedures
An array of other procedures can also improve your smile. They include procedures to help with:
- An uneven gum line
- Teeth that look too short or too long
- Exposed roots
- Indentations in your gums or jawbone
If problems like these are a concern for you, ask your dentist about your best options for correcting them and creating a smile that you can be proud of.