Implant-Supported Crowns vs. Traditional Dental Bridges
A traditional dental bridge is comprised of one or more artificial teeth (pontics) nestled between two dental crowns. This restoration is designed to bridge the gap created by tooth loss and restore complete function and aesthetics. Adjacent healthy teeth serve to support the bridge, however, they must be reshaped to accommodate the restoration. As a traditional dental bridge rests atop the gums, it does not prevent further jawbone degeneration, which commonly occurs after tooth loss.
Implant-supported crowns not only look and feel natural, but they also encourage jawbone regeneration at the site of a missing tooth.
An implant-supported crown replaces an entire tooth from root to crown. This restoration is supported by a dental implant, which is surgically embedded in the jawbone. Dental implants provide a strong, solid foundation for a customized crown. In addition, they act as artificial tooth roots, stimulating the jawbone each time you bite down. This process helps to counteract bone degeneration and promote jawbone regrowth. While dental crowns will need to be replaced in the future, dental implants are designed to provide a lifetime of support.
Are You a Candidate?
You may be a candidate for an implant-supported crown if you:
- Experience isolated tooth loss
- Are in good oral health and free from periodontal disease
- Are looking for a permanent tooth replacement solution
- Do not smoke
- Have a strong and stable jawbone
As implants are inserted directly into the jawbone, they require sufficient jawbone density for support. If you have sustained jawbone degeneration, you may require a preliminary bone graft or sinus lift to restore your candidacy for treatment. While these procedures can extend your treatment timeline by six to nine months, they are integral to the success of dental implants.
The Initial Consultation
During the initial consultation, your dentist may request x-rays or other advanced images to evaluate your smile and determine your candidacy. If you require any prerequisite procedures, your dentist can review the treatment process and timeline, as well as answer any questions you may have.
The Implant-Supported Crown Procedure
If you are ready to proceed with dental implant surgery, your dentist will begin by numbing your gums with local anesthesia. You may also discuss stronger sedation options with your dentist if you feel especially nervous about undergoing treatment. Once you are comfortable, your dentist can make a small incision in your gums, through which implants will be placed. Your dentist can then close the incision with sutures.