If you are one of the 178 million American adults who has lost at least one of your permanent teeth, then there is most likely a very good chance that you have been looking into your restoration options for your missing tooth. Some of our patients may not be good candidates for more permanent procedures such as dental implants but also are deterred by the lack of stability that can be found with a partial denture. For these patients, they may find that a dental bridge is exactly what they need to replace their missing tooth. We find dental bridges to be a reliable and long-lasting restoration option for many of our patients.
What is a Dental Bridge and What Does it Do?
A dental bridge is a type of fixed dental restoration that can help “bridge” the gap left behind by a lost tooth. Unlike a partial denture, dental bridges are fairly permanent and cannot be removed. Instead, you need to keep them clean like you would your natural teeth. They look and feel natural, making them an excellent treatment option for many patients who have lost a tooth.
Types of Dental Bridges You Can Get
There are three main types of dental bridges that you may encounter. The most common and popular type is called the traditional dental bridge. This includes at least one prosthetic tooth (known as a pontic) and relies on two crowns (which cover your natural teeth), one on either side of the pontic, to support it.
Another type of bridge is called a cantilever bridge. This type is not recommended for your back teeth (such as a molar), as they are only supported on one side. However, this type of bridge can be unreliable and is not used as often as a traditional dental bridge.
Finally, you may learn about a Maryland bridge. We do not recommend these for molars, as they are not as strong as traditional dental bridges. They work better on your front teeth, where less bite force is needed. Instead of relying on a dental crown to support it, Maryland bridges are instead bonded to the back of the surrounding teeth.
Why Get a Dental Bridge?
Losing a tooth is not just an issue that can blemish your otherwise beautiful smile. Having a missing tooth can lead to a wide variety of problems that can cause serious complications later on. For instance, a missing tooth can make it harder to bite and chew. This can lead to pain and discomfort in both your teeth and jaw.
Losing a tooth can also lead to more teeth being lost. When a tooth vacates your mouth, it leaves behind a space. Your remaining teeth may try to shift and drift into that vacated space. This can cause more of your teeth to become loose and, eventually, lost. Furthermore, your teeth help lend structure to your face. Without them, your face may start to appear prematurely aged and haggard. A bridge can help keep your face youthful and full.
A fixed dental bridge can help improve both the appearance and the function of your smile. To learn more about dental bridges, or to set up an appointment with us here at College Hill Dental, please give us a call today at (541) 393-2575!