Dental implants provide a permanent solution for the replacement of a tooth. With proper care, they will last a lifetime, plus they provide the same look and feel like natural teeth.

Additionally, dental implants will not become loose and slip around when a person eats or talks. They also promote dental health by stimulating the jawbone.

1. Dental Bridge

Like its name implies, a dental bridge provides a structure that spans a gap previously occupied by a tooth. In addition to a false tooth that fills the gap, a traditional bridge includes crowns that are attached to the teeth on either side of the gap for support. Those teeth are referred to as anchor or abutment teeth. In some cases, bridges are supported by dental implants. The bridge structure itself, including the false tooth that spans the gap, can be constructed of various materials, including porcelain and gold.

In addition to the traditional bridge described above, cantilever bridges and Maryland bonded bridges are also available. Cantilever bridges are used when only one abutment tooth is available for support. However, cantilever bridges are rarely used in modern dentistry. Maryland bonded bridges can be constructed of various materials, including porcelain and porcelain fused to metal, which is then supported by a framework constructed of porcelain or metal.

Dental bridges provide several benefits, including restoring a person’s smile, which can also boost a person’s self-esteem. Bridges also help a person to chew and talk in much the same way as natural teeth. Additionally, dental bridges serve to maintain the integrity of a person’s facial structure by preventing teeth from shifting and by properly distributing forces when chewing.

Dental bridges are typically installed in two sittings. During the first sitting, a portion of the enamel on each of the abutment teeth is removed, and the teeth are prepared to accept the crowns contained within the bridge. Next, impressions are made of the teeth, which are sent to the dental lab that will prepare the bridge. The final step at the first sitting is to create a temporary bridge or temporary crowns for the abutment teeth. At the second sitting, the temporary crowns are removed and replaced with the permanent bridge.

The cost of dental bridges varies anywhere between $1,500 and $5,000 depending on the type used. Although they will last for many years, bridges are not as durable as implants.

2. Endosteal Implant

Endosteal implants are implants that are placed directly into the jawbone. They are the most common type of implant used in dentistry today. There are three different types of endosteal implants: cylinder, blade, and screw. The implants in each of those types are made up of various components. For instance, the cylinder type of endosteal implants consists of a screw, an abutment, and a small cylinder made of titanium, ceramic, or polymer.

The first step in installing an endosteal implant is to remove the defective tooth unless it has already been removed. Once the gums have healed following the tooth removal, a procedure will be performed wherein the cylinder and screw are installed. Antibiotics are often prescribed as part of this procedure. Following the installation of the cylinder and screw, four to six weeks are typically required for the bone and gums to completely heal. At that time, an abutment is attached to the cylinder, which is then fitted with a prosthetic tooth to replace the tooth that was extracted as part of the procedure.

Once the procedure is complete, patients may experience some discomfort, including swelling of the gums and face, bruising of the gums and adjacent skin, pain at the implant site, and minor bleeding. Typically, antibiotics are prescribed and pain medication may be required. If problems become excessive, patients should contact their oral surgeon for advice. During the healing process, it also may be necessary to eat soft foods.

Although prices vary by location, and each professional establishes their own rates, the typical price for an endosteal implant ranges from $3,000 to $4,500.

3. Subperiosteal Implants

As previously discussed, endosteal implants are placed directly into the jawbone. However, in some cases, a person’s jawbone mass is insufficient to receive an implant. This could be the result of age, calcium deficiencies, thyroid problems, or several other issues. In cases where it is not possible to perform an endosteal implant, subperiosteal implants are sometimes used as an alternative.

Subperiosteal implants are not inserted into the jawbone. Rather, they lie on top of the jawbone under a thin layer of tissue between the gum and the bone. They can be formed to fit the jawbone precisely.

There are several advantages to this type of implant. For one thing, bone grafting is not required. Also, the healing process tends to be quicker.

Subperiosteal implants are performed in two surgical steps. The first step is to open the bone tissue and make an impression of the bone structure, capturing the details of the bone to determine exactly where the framework will sit. Sutures are then used to close the gums until the next procedure can be performed. Each of these steps is performed under local anesthesia.

The second step consists of reopening the gums with a scalpel and installing the framework. Small screws are sometimes used to hold the framework in place. Once the framework is in place, sutures are used to close the gums, leaving pieces called permucosal extensions protruding from the gums. Next, a temporary bridge is placed over the extensions to allow the gums to heal. Finally, a bridge matching the patient’s natural teeth can be cemented onto the extensions.

The cost of subperiosteal implants ranges from $5,000 to $15,000. The cost will vary depending on how many implants are needed and whether a dental bridge is used as well.

See a Dental Professional

Anyone who has lost a tooth has several options available for restoring their smile, including bridges and implants. Implants are more likely to provide a permanent solution as long as there is sufficient jawbone mass in which to insert the implant. However, that determination can only be made by a dental professional.