by Dr. O. Karnakova
An implant bridge may be a good option to replace multiple missing teeth, and are far superior to removable partials or multiple tooth supported bridges. An implant bridge is very similar to a normal bridge, in which there are abutments and a pontic. They also offer many advantages such as stopping bone resorption, preserving adjacent teeth, and act and feel like natural teeth. Implant bridges also require hygiene similar to that of a normal bridge, and have a much greater long term prognosis when compared to multiple tooth bridges.
In the past, implants were bridged to natural teeth and are now not recommended. Research has shown bridging an implant to a natural tooth can cause many complications and decrease its prognosis. Natural teeth are connected to the bone via ligaments while implants are integrated directly into the bone. The ligaments on natural act as a cushion and provide slight mobility. The difference in resilience between the natural tooth and implant can cause fractures of the tooth, failure of the bridge, and mobility of the implant. It is highly recommended to instead place multiple implants with single crowns.
Generally, there are two types of abutments for implants. Stock (pre-fabricated) abutments are manufactured by the company, but may not fit properly to the contour of the gums. Custom abutments are made by the dental laboratory. An impression is taken of the implant and surrounding gums. A custom abutment will offer a perfect fit of the crown and will better resemble a natural tooth.