Suffering damage to one or more teeth is problematic enough, but when they are beyond repair or missing altogether, your smile and dental health can be negatively impacted. Fortunately, today you have viable options to replace those teeth, and a dental bridge may be the best one for your particular circumstances. To determine if these are the right choice for you, it helps to consider the pros and cons of getting a dental bridge first.
What are Dental Bridges?
A dental bridge is a restorative solution, replacing one or more missing teeth and bridging a gap between your teeth. The bridge itself attaches to your natural teeth, crowns, or implants on each side. Depending on your situation and preferences, this dental bridge can be removable or bonded in place.
There are three types of dental bridges, and the one best for you will depend on your oral health and personal preferences. These types include:
- Traditional Dental Bridges, consisting of artificial teeth (pontics) anchored to two abutments for support.
- Cantilever Dental Bridges, which rely on just one adjacent tooth as a supporting abutment, such as when a third molar is not present.
- Implant-Supported Dental Bridges, requiring implantation of screw-like devices into the jaw bone to serve as supports for crowns and bridges.
The dental bridge process involves a first visit with your dentist, where impressions will be taken and sent to a dental lab. Your dentist will also prepare the anchor teeth for bridge attachment. This preparation is essential in order for the dental bridge to properly adhere to the teeth and be dependable.
On your second visit, the fitting of the newly created bridge will take place, and your dentist will make sure it is functional as well as comfortable for you.
Pros of Getting a Dental Bridge
In many circumstances, a dental bridge is a good option for patients. The pros for getting a dental bridge include the following.
Requires a Less Invasive Procedure
The dental bridge process is minimally invasive and does not require surgery unless you choose to go with implant-supported bridges.
Gives You a Faster Solution than other Restorations
Many dental restorations take time and several appointments. If you prefer a faster option without having to sacrifice a natural look, dental bridges are a good choice. How long your dental bridge process takes will depend on the size needed and also the type you choose.
Stays More Secure than Other Options
Dental bridges are anchored to adjacent healthy teeth, making them more secure inside your mouth. In contrast, dentures are secured to the gums, which is less secure and can result in slippage or falling out when speaking or eating.
Creates a More Natural Appearance
A dental bridge looks natural, blending in with your natural teeth and not interrupting your smile. Your dentist will match the coloring of the bridge with your surrounding teeth during the design phase.
Replaces More Than One Tooth
If you lose more than one tooth in a row, a dental bridge can easily span the full gap. This option can save you both time and money.
Provides Support to Lips and Cheeks
A dental bridge filling in for missing teeth can maintain your face’s natural shape, supporting lips and cheeks and preventing a sunken-in appearance.
Aids Better Chewing
The loss of one or more adjacent teeth can make it difficult to properly chew your food. With a dental bridge in place, you can return to enjoying your favorites again.
Benefits Speech and Word Pronouncement
Missing teeth can interfere with your speech and in properly pronouncing many words. Since your teeth play an important role in forming these words, a dental bridge can help you feel confident again when talking with a friend, family member, or co-worker.
Halts the Shifting of the Other Teeth
Placement of a dental bridge can help halt the shifting or moving of teeth, as they are prone to do when a tooth is missing. Adjacent teeth help stabilize a tooth, and with the loss of the extra support, it will shift to fill the empty space and can become loose and eventually fall out.
Remains Durable and Long-Lasting
The lifespan of your dental bridge matches that of crowns and can serve you well for 15 years or longer. A key factor in its longevity is the health of the teeth or crowns providing support.
Cons of Getting a Dental Bridge
While dental bridges are advantageous for many patients, there are some cons to be aware of beforehand. Many will depend on the type of dental bridge (Traditional, Maryland, or Implant-supported) and your particular circumstances.
Requires Preparation of Supporting Teeth
In most cases, the procedure requires removal of enamel from adjacent teeth to ensure a proper fit. You may also need crowns on the anchoring natural teeth before the bridge can be fitted.
Does Not Prevent Bone Loss
Missing teeth eventually lead to bone loss, and a dental bridge cannot prevent this. The jawbone holds a tooth in place, and when that tooth is gone, it begins to dissolve or resorb in that area. Bone loss will continue here unless you choose implants with an artificial root screwed securely into the jaw bone.
Maintains Potential for Tooth Decay
If you choose to go with a removable dental bridge, there is the potential for decay to build up underneath if you fail to practice good oral hygiene when removing and replacing it. If you have a fixed bridge bonded in place, this will be less of an issue as long as you brush and floss daily.
Ready to Find Out if Dental Bridges are The Right Choice for You?
Dental bridges are a convenient and effective restoration to replace damaged or missing teeth and to restore your smile. Our team here at Bateson Dentistry will be diligent in answering any questions you may have and provide information on dental bridges and other potential solutions for your dental needs. Call today to schedule a consultation and exam to get started.