If you need to have all your upper or lower teeth replaced a common desire is to have the new teeth be fixed in place (i.e. cannot be taken out). This is called a dental bridge. This dental bridge can be fixed onto dental implants that in turn are anchored to your jaw bone. There are several different methods to use dental implants and a dental bridge. They all have pros and cons which you should be aware of to make an informed decision about which option best suits you.
Advantages: Each step is completed and checked before moving on the next step. This is a good approach for patients where treatment has a high chance of failing. However, for most people, the long treatment time and multiple surgery sessions are unnecessary, painful and adds extra expense.
Disadvantages: Throughout steps 1-3 the patient is required to wear a temporary denture which can be challenging.
Advantages: This process works well when there is enough bone accessibility and when there are no infections in critical locations.
Disadvantages: This process does not work well when the quality and quantity of bone is inadequate or when there are large infections present.
Advantages: This process works well for most healthy patients who have adequate bone and are without significant infection. It is a good option for those patients who have trouble with impressions or who are anxious about dental treatment or who are time poor. The procedure is performed by specialized team of oral surgeon, prosthodontist and anesthetist and offers the safety and security of the hospital setting.
Disadvantages: As with the previous protocol it may have limitations for those with significant bone loss or when there are large infections present.
The dental bridge for each of these options can be made of several materials. The most common are either acrylic teeth on a custom milled titanium bar or porcelain teeth on a custom milled titanium bar. The acrylic teeth are less expensive to make and can be repaired more easily than porcelain teeth. However, the porcelain teeth look more realistic for longer and can be customized with a large selection of colours.
Be aware that some dentists make a dental bridge from acrylic only or acrylic with premade titanium parts. These types of bridges, while less expensive, do not last very long and require a lot of maintenance and replacement after a short period of time.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding with any treatment you may consider seeking a second opinion from an appropriate qualified health practitioner