A dental implant is a strong, metal post that's implanted into your jaw bone and is used to support a crown or artificial tooth once a natural tooth is missing. In some cases, dental implants are also used to provide support for a denture.
Dental implants offer several advantages compared to other options for tooth loss. First, they're designed to work and look just like your own natural teeth, with the post serving as the “root” and the crown acting in place of a natural tooth. The design also makes them much more comfortable and easier to care for. But one of the primary advantages of an implant is that because it's placed into the bone, the post will continue to provide the stimulation necessary for bone regeneration. Because bridges and dentures rest on top of the gum, they provide no stimulation to the jaw bone, and over time, bone will begin to atrophy, resulting in a significantly increased risk of additional tooth loss.
Implants usually require three visits. During the first visit, the post will be placed into the jaw bone and allowed to fuse with the natural bone, a process that usually takes several weeks. At the second visit, a piece called an abutment is attached. This piece will join the crown to the post. An impression will also be made at this appointment. At the third appointment, the crown will be attached to the abutment using a very strong dental adhesive.
Dental implants are extremely durable, and damage is rare. However, if an implant does become damaged, the Dental Center of Redondo Beach is equipped with the technology to repair implants, whether the issue affects the crown, the abutment or the post.
A dental bridge is a special kind of dental device that's used to replace one or more missing teeth. It consists of a strong metal framework that supports one or more crowns, artificial teeth that can be shaped and tinted to match the tooth that's missing so the result looks completely natural. They're called bridges because their purpose is to bridge the gap or opening left by missing teeth.
Bridges usually take two office appointments to complete. At the first visit, the teeth on either side of the gap will be prepared to receive crowns. Crowns are strong coverings that completely surround the tooth, protecting the tooth from damage and also strengthening it. These neighboring teeth will be used to support the bridge, either with a permanent attachment or with clips that allow the bridge to be removed. In either case, the neighboring teeth will be subjected to additional stress, and a crown can help protect them from damage. A small amount of tooth material will be removed to accommodate the crown. Then, an impression will be made of the area and sent to a lab where the bridge and crowns will be fabricated. At the second visit, the crowns and bridge will be attached and gently buffed so they feel completely natural.
Bridges are designed to be very durable, and with proper oral hygiene, a bridge can last for more than a decade.
That's largely a matter of personal preference, but many people prefer the convenience of a bridge as well as the fact that a permanent bridge won't slip the way a denture can.
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