I have had a partial for 4 years and have a small mouth. Oral surgeon recommends 2 implants on top and 2 implants on bottom supporting a bridge? Regular dentist recommends a fixed 6 unit bridge supported by my own canines.. Any advice on esthetics or functionality of implants in the front would be much appreciated!
Is a Dental Implant-supported Bridge a Wise Choice for 4 Front Upper Teeth and 4 Front Lower Teeth?
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Doctor Answers 10
Dental Implant Bridge
Every situation needs to evaluated on its own. This being said, an implant supported bridge to repalce 4 front teeth is very esthetic and has a very good long term prognosis. This is a restoration that will most likely last you the rest of your life. A six unit bridge on the other hand requires you to have healthy teeth "cut" down to make the bridge. A bridge on natural teeth has an average life pan of only 5 yrs based on reasearch and a six unit span only decreases the average life. you will ulimateley need root canals in those teeth or even need tose extracted requiring more implants. This makes the implant bridge a much more cost effective treatment as well. Avoid the 6 unit bridge if possible
Anterior bridge dilemma
THe oral surgeon has reasonable advice. If your canines are good teeth I would suggest you preserve them and not widdle them down to make a 6 unit anterior bridge. In fact I have had beopel come to me with 6 unit anterior bridges that had shown signs of early failure and replace them with implants and crowns over the canines. Your dentist may have a valid point in that iti is easier to get the esthetics with a 6 unit bridge, but with a good clinician you can get the same result with implants and possibly veneers on the canines if esthetics are of concern. I would suggest you do a few more consults and then proceed with the implants. maKE SURE YOU SEE EXAMPLES OF ACTUAL CASES THE CLINICIANS HAVE PERFORMED THAT ARE RELEVANT TO YOUR SITUATION.
Implants for front tooth bridge
Avoid cutting down your canines to make a bridge. Place implants in the lateral incisor spots and make a four tooth bridge.
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Implant Bridge vs tooth supported bridge
If you are a candidate for implants, you have the advantage of not cutting enamel away from 2 healthy teeth. Sometimes cosmetic considerations such as lip position and how high the lip is when smiling affects treatment options.
Implants usually win - but there is a lot to consider
As a general rule, I would say that an implant supported bridge in this situation would be the way to go. There are many things to consider however to achieve the best esthetics and long-term success.
a) How long have the teeth been missing?
b) How much bone is available? Are bone grafts necessary?
c) Do you have a high lip-line when you smile?
d) Do you grind your teeth?
The problem with a bridge from one canine tooth to the other is the length of the span of missing teeth. This means that the bridge is 6 teeth long, and is supported by 2 teeth. With an implant-supported bridge, the bridge is 4 teeth long supported by two implants. This puts less stress on the implants, than the 6 tooth bridge places on the 2 teeth. It also places less stress on the bridge framework which is shorter.
Anterior Implant Bridge has Great Aesthetic Results
I would recommend an implant bridge over tooth supported bridge every time if implants can be placed. By doing so you do not have to prepare (cut down) the adjacent teeth to support a traditional bridge. You can get great aesthetic results with an implant bridge which would replace your front four teeth.
Implant bridge vs. bridge over teeth
One of the great things about implants is that we no longer have to shave down healthy teeth to replace missing teeth. If your canines are perfectly healthy and you have an adequate amount of bone for dental implants then I would advise you have an implant supported bridge. Two implants are a terrific option to support four front teeth. Esthetics should be the same whether you have a bridge supported by implants or by teeth. Good Luck!
Dental implants vs bridge
Dental implants are the standard of care now for replacement of missing teeth. A bridge should not be done, althought it is an option. They have poor longevity and are prone to many complications. Bridges may last about 6.7 years according to some studies. Implant can be a life long solution if done properly (placement by surgeon and restored by a good restoring dentist)
Implants are the way to go!
With the modern success rate of dental implants they are really more conservative than fixed bridges on natural (virgin) teeth. However to be fair to your dentist he may have a reason for his preference. Before implants can be places all the other stars so to speak must be aligned
- No Medical contraindications
- Adequate bone quantity and quality
- No adverse medications being taken
Of course cost can be a factor as well. Make sure you know all the possible costs going into the procedure.
Implant supported bridge.
Its impossible to say for sure in any case without the benefit of an exam, i can say that if the bone and gum tissue are of good quality your best best for a long term esthetic and functional solution will be 2 implants supporting a bridge. Does your dentist have experience with implant bridges in the anterior? One reason that might warrant caution is if you have a 'gummy' smile.
I have restored 4 unit bridges on 2 implants in the anterior many times, and it always provides an very satisfactory result.
Hope this helps.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.