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The average lifespan of a bridge on natural teeth in the United States is 9.1 years. Often, when bridges fail the failure is caused by recurrent decay (decay around margin where crown meets tooth). The second cause of failure is bone loss around the teeth holding the bridge. When either one of these problems occur to a moderate or severe degree, dental implants are a much better long term solution. Here, the right front tooth has decay and missing tooth structure. The lateral incisor on the right of the picture is, in general for all patients, not a good candidate for bridge support. Therefore, the decision was made to remove both teeth and place dental implants.
Implants healed and ready for the implant bridge. The metal covers are healing abutments. The patient has been wearing a temporary partial while the implants heal. These healing caps are removed and the implant abutments placed.
The implants abutments are then placed. The abutments are the intermediate piece that holds the implant crown or bridge to the implant.
Laboratory model of the patient’s mouth with implant analogs. This model very accurately represents the position of the implants and adjacent structures such as neighboring teeth and gum tissue levels. Accuracy is very important in implant dentistry. The better the impression and the more care the doctors takes at each step, the better the outcome.
The laboratory model with the 3-unit bridge in place. The teeth appear long but the upper 1/3rd where the bridge meets the gum tissue will slide under the gums to meet the implant margins. See picture #6.
Permanent bridge in patient’s mouth. The goal of implant dentistry should always be for the final implant restorations to blend as perfectly as possible with the natural teeth around them. Also, bridges should look like individual teeth and not like a bridge. The skill of the laboratory technician is of paramount importance in the overall outcome of any dental case. In implant dentistry it is even more challenging as getting a great outcome. Our dental laboratory technicians are some of the best in the world.
Right side view of the finished bridge. Can you tell which teeth are the implants, the missing teeth or natural teeth?
Left side view of the finished bridge. Can you tell which teeth are the implants, the missing teeth or natural teeth?
Smile picture of finished bridge.
X-ray of final implants and implant bridge. This is as close to a perfect outcome as possible.