Having a missing tooth or missing teeth creates a lot of problems. Not only does it affect your appearance, but it makes eating difficult. When you only have a few teeth missing, you may be considering a traditional dental bridge or an implant-supported bridge. If so, check out what to expect if you choose an implant-supported bridge instead of a traditional one.  

It Doesn't Affect Existing Teeth

With traditional bridges, some of your surrounding teeth must be forever altered to hold the bridge in place. The surface is filed away, so even if the teeth are perfectly healthy, they'll always need a crown to protect them. An implant-supported bridge, however, uses artificial titanium tooth roots to anchor the bridge. These titanium roots are inserted directly into your gums, so they don't affect your surrounding teeth. You can even floss between your natural teeth and the implant like normal.

An Implant-Supported Bridge Is More Durable

Because traditional bridges use existing teeth as anchors, they are durable, but they aren't as durable as implant-supported bridges. Wear and tear and chewing puts extra pressure and stress on the anchor teeth, which may weaken the bond. The titanium implants that sit in your jaw fuse to the jawbone, which creates a hold almost as strong as natural teeth. In fact, implant-supported bridges may last the rest of your life, while a traditional bridge lasts 10 years or more. Plus, depending on how many teeth you have missing, a traditional dental bridge may not even be an option because of the stress it puts on teeth. Your choices may be partial denture or implant-supported bridge.

You May Need a Bone Graft

To support an implant, you need to have a solid jawbone, but if you have had missing teeth for a while, your jawbone may have shrunk. The solution is a bone graft. The dentist takes bone from another part of your mouth or body, uses cadaver bone or synthetic bone to build up the jawbone's density again. In some cases, even if your teeth have just been pulled, the dentist may prefer to do a small bone graft to ensure it doesn't shrink during the process.

The Process Takes Time

Speaking of the process, it takes time, especially if you also need a bone graft. The process has several stages. First, the implants are placed in your jaw. The exact number depends on how many teeth are missing. The gum heals over the implants, so you can't even see them. After the areas have healed, the dentist cuts the gum to expose the titanium roots and places an abutment on the top of each implant, which sit above the gum line. After the gum has healed again, the dentist places the bridge. Because of all the healing time involved, the entire process can take several months.

It Doesn't Just Mask the Deeper Problem

Traditional bridges give you back your smile and ability to chew properly, but they mask the deeper problem of missing teeth. Your jawbone shrinks when you don't have teeth, and that can become a problem. A shrunken jaw can lead to more missing teeth, and it can eventually affect the entire shape of your face. Because titanium implants sit in the jaw and fuse to it, they stimulate it, which prevents the jawbone from shrinking. So while, traditional bridges only fix the surface problems of missing teeth, implant-supported bridges fix every problem associated with missing teeth.

You don't have to struggle with missing teeth a moment longer. Implant-supported bridges fix all the problems of missing teeth, so you can smile with confidence again. For more information about bridges, contact a dentist, like those at http://rosecitydental.com/, in your area today.