Making decisions to better your oral health can sometimes lead to anxiety, and knowing what option to choose can become a challenge. Patients often experience this when choosing between a dental bridge or denture to replace one or more missing teeth. While both of these options are beneficial, knowing the advantages and how the two differ can assist you in making a more informed decision and also determine which will fit better with your particular needs and lifestyle.
What are the Main Differences Between a Dental Bridge and Dentures?
Before making your decision, it will help to understand what a dental bridge is and how it differs from full or partial dentures. Both are solutions for replacing more than one tooth located together, but they differ in their design and required care.
A dental bridge is a set of artificial teeth anchored in place by attaching to adjacent or abutment teeth on each side. These abutment teeth will most likely be crowns, but you might be able to use your natural teeth if they are strong and healthy enough.
Dentures, on the other hand, are a set of removable prosthetic teeth that attach to your gums and may be a complete set for the upper or lower row of teeth or a partial set for a certain section only. You may need to use an adhesive to keep them firmly in place and will need to remove them at night as you sleep.
Specific differences between these two include the following.
- The dental bridge remains fixed in place, acting much like your other teeth, while dentures are removable.
- Dentures require special care and maintenance, including soaking and cleaning at night. A dental bridge requires less steps, allowing you to brush and floss as normal, along with your other teeth.
- A dental bridge often looks more natural if within the smile zone than dentures.
- Both options are somewhat long-lasting, but a dental bridge is expected to last up to 15 years or more, while dentures need replacing in five or six.
What to Consider when Choosing Between a Dental Bridge and Dentures
When choosing between a dental bridge and dentures, consider the following.
Number of teeth that need replacing
Your choice will depend heavily on the number of missing or damaged teeth that need replacing. If the number is between two and four, a dental bridge is more likely to be the better option. If more than that, dentures can be a more stable and beneficial choice.
Your current dental health
Your current dental health will be a major factor. For example, if the teeth that are to serve as the abutments for your dental bridge are weak, your dentist may recommend you choose a partial denture instead. You may have the possibility of strengthening these abutment teeth by adding crowns, but this will come at an additional expense.
If appearance is a primary concern, especially if you are replacing teeth that show when you smile, you will most likely want to determine if you are a good candidate for a dental bridge. Since a dental bridge stays put, it provides a more natural look and feel, and it is highly unlikely others will notice anything artificial.
While brushing and flossing will need to continue with either choice, there are additional steps you need to take for each one. Decay can accumulate under and around a dental bridge, so you will need to spend more time concentrating in this area during your daily dental hygiene practices.
As for dentures, you will need to remove them at night before brushing and flossing other teeth and allow them to soak. You will also need to use a special cleaner to keep them bacteria-free before re-inserting in your mouth.
At some point, you will need to replace a dental bridge or denture. While how long each one lasts can vary, it is usually somewhere between five and 15 years.
A dental bridge can last more than 15 years, but this will depend on how you care for it and whether or not you experience other oral health issues that can affect its ability to function normally.
Dentures do not last as long as dental bridges, requiring replacement somewhere around the five or six-year mark. The reason for this is often that the dentures become dull or the structure of your mouth changes over time, requiring a new fitting.
Your lifestyle preferences also play a role when deciding between a dental bridge and a denture. Care for your dental bridge will be much like that for your natural teeth, while a denture requires removal and special cleaning. If you don’t see yourself able or wanting to spend the extra time needed to keep dentures clean and in shape, you will want to go with the dental bridge.
Another factor to consider is that dentures can sometimes slip when you are eating or speaking, and this can be embarrassing if it occurs in front of other people. Determine how this will affect you and if you can deal with it positively or not.
Learn More About Dental Bridges vs. Dentures by Contacting Bateson Dentistry Today
If you currently experience damaged teeth or problematic tooth loss, Bateson Dentistry can help you re-establish a healthy mouth and a confident smile. We will take the time to discuss all your options and provide the support you need in making the right decision for your particular circumstances. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today.