An Overview of Dental Bridges
No one ever anticipates losing a tooth, let alone multiple teeth. You’ve grown accustomed to seeing all your pearly whites lined up right next to each other like obedient soldiers. It’s hard to imagine a time when one of them is gone. But sometimes life happens and you find yourself needing to replace an extracted or already-missing tooth. A dental bridge is a restorative solution that can come in handy in such a situation. Here’s a great overview to help you understand both the benefits and the drawbacks of this replacement option.
Reasons To Consider a Dental Bridge
The appearance of your smile, your oral health, and proper oral function are all important reasons to consider a dental bridge. A bridge restores the look of your smile with artificial teeth that look just as natural as the originals. By replacing lost teeth, these restorations prevent your facial features from collapsing and making you appear older.
More importantly, though, they stop neighboring teeth from shifting into the void, which can set your whole bite out of whack. Crooked teeth are also more difficult to clean, increasing their risk of decay. And as a result, you may be at risk of losing even more teeth.
Types of Bridges
A dental bridge is an artificial tooth (referred to as a pontic) held in place by the adjacent abutment teeth on both sides of the space. Many dentists recommend porcelain bridges because they blend more easily with your other teeth. In the absence of strong, natural teeth, implants can act as the underlying bridge supports, and when properly cared for, these implant bridges can last 15 years or longer. As not all patients have the same issues, there are four basic bridge options typically available.
It’s the most common type of dental bridge for replacing missing teeth. Traditional dental bridges consist of two dental crowns fused to a false tooth (or teeth) in the middle. Here, the dental crowns act as anchors for the pontics that “bridge” the gap. This type of bridge is relatively lightweight, redistributing your biting force evenly and providing excellent chewing comfort.
Think of a composite bridge as a temporary tooth-replacement solution. Your dentist will create artificial teeth out of dental composite and then bond them into the space. This is usually used for missing front teeth. The downside, of course, is that it is only temporary, but it’s a great option for patients with gum disease who want to hold on to their compromised natural teeth for a little longer or are waiting on a more permanent restoration.
Just like a traditional bridge, dentists use a Maryland bridge when there are two supporting teeth present to hold the pontic. The only difference here is that instead of covering those teeth with crowns, a Maryland bridge attaches to the back of the abutment teeth by metal or porcelain bands. One major advantage of this dental bridge is that it’s not always necessary to remove part of the enamel.
The structure of implant bridges is quite similar to that of traditional dental bridges. The only difference is that instead of crowns, this type of bridge uses dental implants to keep the pontic secure. Because dental implants are well known for their strength and durability, implant-supported bridges are usually the best option for filling large gaps with multiple missing teeth.
Candidates for Dental Bridges
There are several dental bridge options to consider when you need to replace natural teeth. Apart from bridges, your dentist is likely to spend some time talking about single dental implants. In most cases, people who are good candidates for dental implants also qualify for implant-supported bridges. If you’re missing one to three teeth, both traditional and implant-supported bridges might be a good fit for you.
However, your abutment teeth need to be structurally sound and free from dental decay for these. Suitable candidates for dental bridges must be in reasonably good oral and overall health. Patients with periodontal disease will need to have the condition treated before moving ahead with any restorative procedure.
Finding the Right Dental Bridge for Your Smile
Missing teeth can make everyday tasks like chewing and speaking difficult. With a dental bridge, you can restore the appearance of your smile and get back full-mouth functionality. Book a consultation with us to discuss the best way to replace the teeth that you have lost. Be it dental implants or traditional bridges, we will work with you to create a customized treatment plan that best suits your oral health, budget, and aesthetic needs.