For patients who are missing one or more teeth, the choice between traditional restorations and dental implants can be a source of some confusion. In an effort to help patients understand the benefits of the choices available to them, we have created this guide to explain the differences between traditional and implant-supported restorations
Here at St. Mary Dental, prosthodontist Dr. Saeda Basta delivers restorations whether traditional or implant, specially designed to help patients regain the function and balance of a healthy bite, as well as the seamless aesthetic of their natural smile.
When considering treatment for replacing a missing tooth, multiple treatment options can be valid depending on the location of the tooth. Here are a list of treatment modalities available and explanation of their preparation.
1) Dental bridges: The most commonly used treatment prior to the introduction of dental implants. This prosthetic involves preparing the adjacent teeth by reducing the teeth enough to create a room for a prosthesis called fixed bridge. This bridge will be fabricated in the lab and consists of two crowns cemented over the prepared teeth, and a fake tooth called a pontic that will replace the missing tooth.
2) Maryland Bridges: Another form of fixed bridges. Less popular and limited in its application to certain areas in the mouth. Usually it is used to replace a maxillary (upper) lateral or a mandibular (lower) centrals or laterals. It involves partial preparation of the adjacent teeth, usually the lingual wall (inside wall of the adjacent teeth). This bridge will be fabricated in the lab and consists of two wings, either metal or porcelain, and a pontic to replace the missing tooth. These wings will be cemented or bonded to the prepared side of the teeth. This form of bridge is less secure and cannot be used to replace missing teeth in areas of heavy load, or in patients who have excessive biting force.
3) Partial dentures: This is not a fixed option but a removable one where the missing teeth are glued to a metal frame work that is fabricated in the lab. Then multiple teeth in the mouth are to be prepared to accommodate the parts of the partial called clasps and rests. The preparation of the teeth will allow the partial to sit in the mouth replace the missing teeth without interfering with the patient’s bite.
4) Dental implants: This is a stand-alone prosthesis and does not impact neighboring teeth. These restorations are anchored directly to the jaw, meaning there is no need for the nearby teeth to be shaped or otherwise changed. It is an ideal replacement of teeth, regardless of location of the missing tooth in the jaw and how many teeth are missing.
Dental Implants Versus Traditional Restorations.
1) Effect on neighboring teeth: One of the primary differences between these two options is how they affect neighboring teeth. Any traditional treatment option needs preparation to the adjacent teeth. Dental implants are stand-alone restorations do not need any preparation to other teeth in the mouth.
2) Long Term Health Effects
Another difference between traditional restorations and dental implants is the long term health benefits they offer to patients. Bridges will last as long as the crowns or wings supporting them remain healthy and intact. Should the supporting structure fail, the bridge will need to be replaced. If decay or gum disease settles into the anchoring tooth, the crown may need to be removed for treatment. In addition, traditional bridge restorations place pressure on the surface of the gums instead of stimulating the structure of the jaw as implants do.
Since Dental implant restorations are stand-alone structures none of the previous statements apply to them. In addition, dental implants maintain the bone and prevent the resorption that occurs after teeth extraction, which in return supports the shape of the facial structure diminishing premature facial aging most often associated with missing teeth.
3) Restoration Aesthetics
Thanks to the cosmetic materials used in modern dental restorations, both implant-supported and traditional dental prosthetics can be matched to the shade of adjacent teeth, and help to create a seamless smile. Talk to our Covina dentist about your options and discuss the benefits to long term oral health.
4) Restoration Speed
The speed at which restorations can be fabricated and placed from traditional restorations to dental implants restoration is the same, yet you need to add extra time for the surgical procedure of the dental implants. Usually dental implants need extra time for them to be Osseo-integrated (anchored or fixed firmly in bone). This time will vary among individuals and can be tested during the implant placement.
In conclusion, even though dental implants may take longer to place and restore, the health and durability they provide is much greater than their traditional counterparts. Implants are able to last a lifetime, and can be used to support further restorations in the future.
If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to learn more about the options available to you, be sure to contact our specialist at St. Mary Dental today! Dr. Basta uses her experience as a prosthodontist to provide patients throughout Covina and the neighboring communities with dental restorations that create optimal bite health and aesthetics that will satisfy your functional and aesthetic demands. Schedule a consultation!