You can lose your tooth due to natural causes, medical conditions or an injury. A missing tooth can create an unsightly gap. Additionally, it can be difficult to chew because of pain, you might experience discomfort in your jaw, and you might encounter other problems resulting from the change in your bite. To restore your smile and get rid of all these problems, you will need a dental bridge. Therefore, it is essential to understand what a dental bridge is and what you can expect from the procedure.

A dental bridge will fill the gap that is created by your missing tooth. The two teeth that are on each side of the gap are called the abutment teeth. The abutment teeth are prepared for a crown, and they anchor the false tooth that is placed in the gap by joining the false teeth to these crowns. The false teeth used to fill the gap are usually known as pontics. They are made from different materials such as gold, porcelain, alloys, or a combination of materials.

Types of Dental Bridges

There are four main types of dental bridges. They include traditional, cantilever, Maryland and implant-supported bridges.

Traditional Bridges

These are the most popular types of bridges used to restore lost teeth. They are usually the best option when you have natural teeth on each side of the gap that is created by the missing tooth. Implants can also be used in place of natural teeth. Traditional bridges are lightweight, small, and they will give you comfort as you chew. They do this by re-distributing your compromised regular bite force. Also, if you care for your teeth thoroughly and maintain good dental hygiene, this type of dental bridge will last for an extended period.

However, with traditional bridges, the enamel from your abutment teeth will have to be cut then removed so that room can be made for the new crowns. Enamel does not regenerate on its own. This means that the abutment teeth will always need perfectly fitting crowns to protect them from damage. To ensure the durability and stability of the enamel, it is mandatory that you care for them and the bridge.

Cantilever Bridges

This type of dental bridge is used when one side of the pontic tooth is missing an anchor tooth or teeth. These dental bridges are also used in situations where teeth on both sides of the gap are missing. Additionally, if preparing abutment teeth for the crown is not possible, or if one abutment tooth is already supporting another restoration, the cantilever bridge is used instead of the traditional bridge. However, this bridge is not recommended for the back of the mouth where a lot of bite force can be placed on the abutment tooth. Therefore, the biting force is usually a consideration during the design for this type of bridge. The procedure of preparing a cantilever bridge is similar to that of a traditional bridge.

Maryland Bridges

The Maryland Bridge is winged. It is also conservative. Therefore, it is commonly known as a resin-bonded bridge. The material used to design this type of bridge is similar to gum material. A plastic tooth is also used to design the dental bridge. However, it has a metal frame fortifying the tooth. The metals attached are located on the opposite sides, and they are bonded to the anchor teeth. Hence, this form of bond is perfect for the front teeth in situations where the adjacent teeth are in stable condition.

The advantage of using the Maryland Dental Bridge is that the alterations that will be made on the abutment teeth will be very minimal. Also, this treatment is more efficient and cost-effective when compared to traditional dental bridge treatment. However, you will still need to assess your bite so that you can determine if this is the best option for you. With the Maryland Dental Bridge, cross and deep bites are not advised. Also, over time, the abutment teeth will become darker due to the discoloration of the metal attachments. As a result, the Maryland Bridges are commonly used as temporary solutions used to allow the implant time to heal.

Implant-Supported Bridges

This type of dental bridge has been gaining popularity because it does not require damage to the adjacent natural teeth. The support for this type of bridge comes from an implant. Also, a lot of space is left for you to clean between the implants. Besides, these bridges are very stable if they are correctly installed. However, in cases where too many implants are integrated, significant complications can occur. The most common difficulties noted with the Implant-Supported bridges are implanting rejections and failures. Also, it causes a disease called Peri-implantitis. This is where plague sticking to the implant surface travels under the gums and destroys healthy bone.

Therefore, with this type of bridge, it is essential to ensure that the design used will allow you space to clean the bridge properly. It is better to get two implants to support the bridge than three implants in one row. The advancements in technology have also made it possible to construct products and to engage in procedures that can replace an entire arch with four, five or six implants placed strategically. However, this is possible if your jaw bone is of good quality. Besides, an Implant-Supported bridge is ideal because it provides the same secure and comfortable feeling that a natural tooth does. With excellent dental care hygiene, this bridge can last for an entire lifetime.

Dental Bridges vs. Dental Implants

The construction for a dental bridge differs from that of a dental implant in that a bridge is suspended between two prepared crowns while an implant is attached to an inserted titanium post in the jaw. Therefore, unlike a bridge, an implant is stronger and more permanent. With an implant, only the missing tooth will be replaced without interfering with the adjacent natural teeth. However, if your neighboring teeth need caps, crowns or fillings, a bridge might be the best option for replacing a missing tooth.

Also, while a dental bridge might need replacement after every five to fifteen years, an implant is a permanent treatment. Regardless, lack of proper hygiene and care can reduce the life span of both a bridge and an implant. To find the right treatment for your missing tooth, it is imperative that you talk to your dentist about all the available options for you. A dentist will weigh all the considerations and make the perfect recommendation for your teeth.

When is a Dental Bridge Needed

You need a dental bridge if you are missing one tooth or more. However, other situations can also suggest the treatment option of a dental bridge. For instance, a tooth that is severely broken or decayed cannot hold a dental crown by itself. The treatment, in this case, would be a dental bridge. A dental bridge is also needed if you want to restore and maintain many of the functions that you lose with the loss of teeth.

You can restore your speech, smile, and facial shape with a dental bridge. You can also maintain your biting and chewing abilities when you get a dental bridge treatment. Additionally, you will need a dental bridge if you have a missing tooth so that it can prevent the adjacent teeth from drifting into the gap created by the missing tooth. However, it is always best to visit a dentist because a dentist can better determine if a dental bridge or a dental implant is the perfect solution for your missing tooth or teeth.

The first step towards a beautiful, healthy smile is to schedule an appointment. Please contact our office by phone or complete the appointment request form. Our scheduling coordinator will contact you to confirm your appointment.