Bridge versus Implant
Fixed Hybrid Dentures
Locator Retained Overdenture
Implants and bridges are ways to replace missing teeth.
A Bridge, sometimes referred to as a Fixed Bridge or Fixed Partial Denture, replaces the lost tooth with a pontic (sort of like a solid crown with a smooth underside). The pontic is connected to crowns on the teeth adjacent to the space. They serve as abutments to support the pontic which bridges the gap between them. All three units (crown+pontic+crown) would together be one bridge. The abutment teeth have to be healthy enough to do the work of three teeth (their own plus the missing tooth). Bridges can replace more than one missing tooth but the same applies. And they're married to each other. Since they're connected a problem with one is a problem with all. The procedure for replacing a missing tooth with a bridge is similar to restoring teeth with crowns. Typically two visits are needed about 2 weeks apart.
An Implant, sometimes referred to as Endosseous Implant, is way to replace the entire missing tooth; root and all. It's free standing, asking nothing of its neighbors. Think of it as having three parts that make an entire single tooth: An Implant Body or Fixture (think of it as a man made root), an Abutment (a connector), and a Crown. The implant Body is placed and the surrounding tissue allowed to heal. Over a few months, typically three, new bone will grow to the surface of the implant in a process called Oseointegration. This part of the procedure will be done by a specialist. We will be happy to refer you to an excellent surgeon with whom we work closely. Once the implant is ready (osseointegrated) we will restore it with a crown much like we do a natural root. An abutment is custom fabricated and serves a the connection (sort of like a post in a natural root) and the implant body. The Abutment and crown typically requires two visits, about 3 weeks apart.
Implants can serve individually or be connected to each other to support a bridge, much like natural roots. Multiple implants can support a replacement for multiple teeth or provide excellent retention and stability for a removable denture. Watch the videos above. Implants have changed the way we think about replacing teeth, opening up a whole new world of possibilities that previous generations of dentists simply couldn't offer.