Dental implants are small posts or screws that are placed into the jaw to replace the roots of missing teeth. They can be used to support a wide range of dental restorations, from those that replace a single tooth to complete dentures that restore all of the teeth on an upper or lower arch. If you’re wondering which type of dental implant restoration is right for you, the best way to know is to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists. Below, we’ll go over the different options available.
Implant-supported crowns, also known as single-tooth dental implants, are the closest match for a natural tooth, with an implant fixture replacing the root and a dental crown replacing the tooth above the gum line. An implant-supported crown is used when only one tooth has to be replaced with a dental implant or when a few teeth need to be replaced, but they are not close to each other.
If you have a span of three or more neighboring teeth that need to be replaced, an implant-supported bridge is a more cost-effective option than replacing each tooth with its own dental implant and crown. Typically, two implant fixtures are used to replace the two outermost teeth, and these fixtures support a porcelain bridge of prosthetic teeth (also known as pontics).
Traditional dental bridges aren’t as highly recommended as implant-supported bridges because they don’t prevent bone loss in the jaw and they offer less strength and stability. Another important difference to note is that implant-supported bridges do not rely on adjacent teeth for support, eliminating the need for placing crowns on abutment teeth, which leaves them prone to injury from stress.
Implant-supported dentures are retained by dental implants, so no adhesives are needed. These restorations are sometimes called snap-in dentures because they can be taken out and put back in by the patient.
Implant-supported dentures are more natural-feeling than conventional dentures because they provide much more stability, so you can eat all of your favorite foods and speak clearly. These dentures never slip or rub against the gum tissue and cause painful sores because they are secured in place with dental implants.
Snap-in dentures can be full or partial, and both options will prevent bone loss in the jaw, helping you maintain a more youthful appearance.
Full Arch With Only Four Implants
If you need to replace all of the teeth on the upper or lower arch, you may wish to consider a fixed complete prosthesis, also known as a full arch with only four implants. A complete arch of fixed replacement teeth is supported by four implant posts in this type of restoration. Many people who aren't candidates for typical implant-supported dentures benefit from an implant-supported fixed prosthesis, which can be completed in a single day. Unlike snap-in dentures, a full arch with only four implants must be removed by a dentist.