Gum Set Ceramic Bridge: Optimised Oral Health and Aesthetics
Gum set ceramic bridges, supported by dental implants, represent a significant advancement in dental prosthetics. They offer a superior alternative to acrylic bridges, providing enhanced aesthetics, functionality, and oral health benefits. This advancement underscores the importance of choosing the right material and technology in dental restorations to improve your lifestyle, confidence, and overall health.
What is a Gum Set Ceramic Bridge?
A gum set ceramic bridge is the closest type of prosthesis to that of a natural set of teeth. They represent the highest-quality subset of the full arch rehabilitation ceramic bridge options.
A gum set bridge can only be made in ceramic due to the very favourable physical properties of ceramic compared to acrylic teeth, which is the alternative material that is used commonly used when making implant bridges.
The gum set ceramic bridge is secured to the natural contours of the patient’s gum with dental implants. This is the most technically advanced implant solution for missing teeth the dental profession can offer. The fabrication of a gum set ceramic bridge is at the forefront of what today’s technology can achieve.
Why Consider a Gum Set Ceramic Bridge?
Gum Set Ceramic bridges are a technologically advanced solution that has only been available as an option for tooth replacement in recent years. In the past, patients receiving implant bridges were typically restored using acrylic restorative materials, but now, gum set ceramic bridges offer a more modern alternative. The widely used term “All on Four” involves a procedure where bone is cut back to create space for plastic materials, and an acrylic bridge with plastic denture teeth is then attached.
Gum Set Ceramic bridges provide patients with a superior alternative to procedures like “All on Four.” This approach follows a different philosophy of implant reconstruction, avoiding the removal and destruction of bone. Instead, the bone is preserved and built up to the right position, allowing patients to receive a more biologically conservative and aesthetically pleasing prosthesis, representing the current state-of-the-art in the field.
The field of dental prosthetics has witnessed significant advancements in recent years resulting in a growing preference for gum set ceramic bridges using dental implants. This shift is attributed to the aesthetic and functional superiority of these prostheses over traditional acrylic bridges.
What are the Benefits of a Gum Set Ceramic Bridge Compared to a Traditional Economical All on 4 Bridge?
Benefits of Gum Set Ceramic Bridges:
- Aesthetic Superiority: Ceramic bridges closely mimic natural teeth, enhancing facial aesthetics and boosting patient confidence. In comparison, acrylic bridges often fall short in achieving the natural appearance characteristic of ceramic alternatives.
- Bone Preservation: In the case of a gum set ceramic bridge, bone removal is typically unnecessary. These bridges stand out as the most biologically conservative option for the majority of patients. In contrast, acrylic bridges often require bone removal to achieve the necessary thickness.
- Durability, Longevity and Functionality: Ceramic materials are known for their strength and resistance to wear, ensuring long-term functionality. They are strong in 2mm-4mm thin sections compared to acrylic which needs a minimum thickness of 12mm for strength.
- Oral Health Benefits: The design of ceramic bridges facilitates better gum health and does not accumulate plaque as readily as acrylic.
- Ease of Maintenance: Acrylic will stain and wear down over time. The low porosity and higher surface tension of ceramic make it less prone to plaque buildup compared to acrylic. Additionally, ceramic teeth are less susceptible to chipping than their acrylic counterparts.
- Biocompatible: Ceramic is inert and does not cause any allergic reactions to the oral tissues.
More Reading – Benefits of Gum Set Ceramic Bridges in More Detail
When dental implant bridges were first invented and popularised, they were made with acrylic materials supported by metal bars. Acrylic dental reconstruction has been available since the 1960s and, as such, does have limitations and some disadvantages associated with it.
The aesthetics of an acrylic dental bridge are the same as dentures; this is because they are made from the same material. Today, acrylic is still used for dentures and All-on-4 prosthetic reconstructions as it is cheap to manufacture, easy to repair and offers a faster turnaround.
With advances in materials such as ceramic and mechanical processes, Aria Dental can reconstruct more beautiful teeth with ceramics, including zirconia (a type of ceramic), which will look and feel very similar to normal teeth.
Aria’s Master Ceramists customise the tooth shapes, colours, and contours for a unique, individual look that matches your facial features and personality. You, as the patient, also have more input over the final design to ensure satisfaction.
Bone Cutting and Bone Preservation
In the last ten years, dental surgical skills have progressed, aided by new technologies, which have allowed the dental clinician to reduce the physical space and size of dental bridges. The benefit of this is that the patient can preserve most of their natural tissue and bone structure. For a gum set ceramic bridge, this means there is no need for bone cutting or jaw bone grinding in the majority of circumstances.
Avoiding all bone cutting and preserving the bone helps significantly reduce the risk of prosthetic teeth complications, such as food packing between the prosthetic teeth and the gum, which is a common complication and limitation of all prosthetic dental bridges. It also helps maintain and preserve the correct lip support so the facial features are optimised.
A gum set ceramic bridge is the highest-quality subset of the full arch rehabilitation ceramic bridge options for a reason. Instead of removing bone and gum tissue, through the guidance of our Specialist Prosthodontist, the Aria team will sculpt and shape your new ceramic teeth to meet the natural or reconstructed curves of your gum. This means there is no bone removal and no visible crease or gap where the typical bridge meets the natural gum line. It is the highest aesthetically pleasing option, particularly when a patient smiles.
Removing the need to cut the bone is a significant leap and paradigm shift in the dental implant procedure. Traditionally, bone cutting is required to make room in the mouth for an acrylic bridge. Due to the weakness of the acrylic material, it needs to be thick and tall so it doesn’t break. If a patient has a high smile line (shows gum when they smile), the dentist will need to cut more natural bone away so that the ‘transition line’, where the prosthesis meets the gums, can’t be seen.
Ceramic (or Zirconia) bridge, on the other hand, is strong at just 2mm of thickness. So, with a gum set ceramic bridge, there’s no necessity for it to be larger than the newly designed replacement teeth. This option focuses on simply replacing what is missing—the teeth—making it an ultra-conservative and aesthetic choice. Additionally, dentists do not need to cut any bone or jaw to accommodate this type of dental bridge.
Gum set ceramic teeth are the smallest in dimensions and can feel like having your natural teeth back. They simulate just the teeth, with no gum interference or palate coverage.
As a result, patients find them extremely comfortable because there’s no extra material in the mouth.
This is in contrast to acrylic, which is bulkier and requires a greater thickness to accommodate for the metal, pink acrylic, and plastic white teeth. As there is physically more material in your mouth, there is an adjustment period for patients (even when the implant positions are optimally positioned), with speaking and biting as you get used to having a bulkier bridge in your mouth.
Dental Implant Bridge Treatment Time Frame
How Long Does It Take to Complete?
Acrylic dental bridges (All-on-4) can be completed within just three days after implant placement. Similar to dentures, the acrylic bridge is relatively straightforward and can be manufactured by a dental laboratory in approximately 48 hours. It is a highly successful option but is considered more beneficial for the lower jaw.
However, at Aria Dental, our professional preference is not to complete treatment rapidly and rush the process. Instead, we prefer to allow time for the gums to heal and for the patient to adjust to a set of temporary teeth before finalising the treatment. At Aria Dental, we prefer the minimum treatment time for an acrylic bridge to be three months, but if necessary, it can be expedited to meet specific patient requirements.
Making a set of gum set ceramic teeth takes much longer; the Aria team must carefully shape and contour the gum and the teeth so that the new gum set prosthetic teeth look like they are emerging from the gum. This is the closest we can currently get to reproducing natural teeth.
The process for a gum set ceramic bridge typically spans around nine months. During the implant healing period, a temporary bridge is inserted to maintain your quality of life. The gum set ceramic bridge produces a significantly higher level of prosthetic reconstruction and requires a higher level of professional skill and artistry to complete. It takes months for the gum to contour and adapt to the changes and approximately 100 hours to handcraft your unique and individual ceramic bridge. Subsequently, this treatment requires a higher level of motivation, patience and commitment from the patient. You can see in the case study images below that it is worth the wait!
Case Study Images
Summary: Comparison of Gum Set Ceramic Bridges and Acrylic Bridges
Gum Set Ceramic Bridges
- Offer the closest and most advanced level of natural teeth replacement
- Mimics the natural feel, form and function of natural teeth
- Is the most conservative and aesthetically driven option currently available
- Does not require the removal of the bone
- Ceramic materials closely resemble natural enamel and are far more favourable than acrylic teeth
- Cost-effective long-term solution
- Requires a high level of commitment from the patient
Acrylic Dental Bridges (All on 4)
- Cost-effective solution in the short term, 5-7 years
- Stains and wears down over time
- Plaque can accumulate on acrylic much easier than other materials, such as precious metal alloys and ceramics
- Acrylic is a suboptimal material for teeth replacement compared to ceramics
- Acrylic has no physical properties that are more favourable than ceramics when replacing natural teeth
- Is an aesthetically pleasing option when the patient does not show their gum when they smile
- If a patient has a high smile line, then the dentist will cut more bone away so that you don’t see the ‘transition line’, which is where the prosthesis touches the gums
- Acrylic is suboptimal, particularly in the upper jaw, due to its compromised aesthetic properties and the higher risk of acrylic teeth chipping off during years of function
- NB: Acrylic teeth in the upper jaw are not recommended at Aria Dental.
Considering a Gum Set Ceramic Bridge? Aria can help.
Prosthodontists are dental specialists who receive advanced training in replacing and restoring missing teeth. Prosthodontics is a dental field focused on the use of removable and fixed dental prosthetics, including dental implants, to restore both dental function and aesthetics. These professionals possess the highest level of qualification a dental practitioner can achieve in cosmetic dentistry.
Specialist Prosthodontist Dr Michael Zaninovich leads our team at Aria Dental. As a Specialist Dentist in Prosthodontics, his clinical time is devoted to performing full mouth rehabilitation with optimal aesthetic and functional results. Dr Zaninovich is based in our flagship location in the Perth CBD and bookings can be made through our Aria Dental patient services team on 08 9226 2135.