As an alternative to wearing a full denture (if there is adequate bone or bone augmentation procedures can be performed to grow sufficient bone) multiple implants can be placed across the jawbone to provide support for a fixed bridge. This procedure is similar to those described for single or multiple implants but requires careful diagnosis, planning and coordination before treatment begins. This attention to detail will ensure that an appropriate number of implants can safely be placed in positions that will allow your dentist to fabricate a bridge which will meet your needs and expectations.
The number of implants necessary for a full-arch fixed bridge varies depending on your particular anatomy, the opposing teeth, the type of bridge you want to have placed and the number of teeth you want or need to replace with the prosthesis. A full arch of implants can be placed when you are already missing all teeth in one of your jaws. If you have teeth remaining, they may need to be removed as a first step before implant surgery can proceed, or sometimes the teeth may be extracted and implants placed immediately after the teeth have been removed. If there are teeth remaining, you may be able to have a temporary fixed-bridge made by your dentist to help transition from your own teeth to implants. In this scenario (while the implants are healing), the temporary bridge stays in place which allows chewing, speaking and smiling – all without having to wear a removable denture. If it is not possible to retain enough teeth to support a fixed bridge while the implants are healing, then you may need to wear a removable denture temporarily.
Usually, you will be advised by your dentist to refrain from wearing the denture for a period of time (customarily two weeks) after the implants have been placed. This allows the gums to heal without being disturbed. In recent years, we have learned that it is often possible to place a full arch of implants and connect them to a fixed bridge (usually temporary) in what is known as immediate loading – which means the implants are receiving “load” from chewing forces as soon as they are placed.
This newer procedure is highly successful but there are certain requirements for its success. This technique requires careful planning and coordination by your dentist and Dr. Jong. A treatment plan will be discussed with you going over any and all of your options, as your dentist and Dr. Jong work together to get the best and most appropriate plan for you.