Living with missing teeth can cause complications in the long-term. Aside from cosmetic concerns, tooth loss can cause several issues. These include difficulty chewing, crooked teeth, problems with your bite, bone loss, and a greater risk of health issues. These can include Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and heart disease. A dental bridge is a viable option for people with one or more missing teeth.
Dental bridges are designed to “bridge” the gap created by having one or multiple missing teeth. This custom fixed (permanent) restoration consists of artificial teeth made from porcelain or resin with a dental crown on either side to support the fake teeth, or pontics. A dental bridge can restore function and helps create a natural appearance.
Types of Dental Bridges
Depending on the dental condition and the number of teeth missing, your dentist may recommend one of the three types of dental bridges. These dental bridge options include:
- Traditional Fixed Bridges – A traditional fixed bridge consists of an artificial tooth supported by crowns placed on healthy teeth on either side of the gap. These crowns provide support for the artificial tooth and help keep it in place. Traditional fixed bridges are the most common type of bridge. They are often recommended to patients with only a few missing teeth with an otherwise healthy smile.
- Cantilever Bridges – A cantilever bridge is often offered to patients who have no teeth on one side of the missing tooth, meaning only one side is available to support the bridge with a tooth and crown. Cantilever bridges are created so that the pontic is located outside of the abutment tooth.
- Maryland Bonded Bridges – Also known as a resin-bonded bridge, a Maryland bonded bridge is a popular option for replacing front teeth. This type of bridge consists of a metal framework with porcelain fused to metal teeth. The artificial tooth is fixed to adjacent teeth with porcelain or metal wings on each side of the bridge.
Benefits of a Dental Bridge
Dental bridges are custom made to comfortably fit the recipient’s mouth. When properly fitted, a dental bridge can provide patients with a wide range of benefits. Bridges can help restore a person’s ability to chew food and speak properly. They can also distribute bite forces to alleviate stress on other teeth.
A dental bridge can also provide certain cosmetic benefits. In addition to restoring a full smile, bridges help maintain the shape of the face. Additionally, they prevent face and lip collapse. When a bridge is placed within a short amount of time following an extraction, it can also help prevent the remaining teeth from shifting out of position and into the gap.
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You may be a good candidate for a dental bridge if you are missing between one and three consecutive teeth, have good oral health, and are free from gum disease.