What Is A Dental Bridge?
Dental bridges are pretty common in the United States and have been used on patients for decades. Typically, if you have one or more missing teeth, a dental bridge can fill the gap with one or more artificial (false) teeth. The most common causes of missing teeth are tooth decay, gum disease and injury (think sports and other accidents). Some people may have even been born with missing teeth due to a congenital condition. No matter how the teeth are lost, in order to receive a dental bridge, you must have two healthy teeth (or dental implants) on either side of the missing tooth space.
You may be asking: why is it so important to fill that empty space? Teeth best perform their duties when working together. If a tooth or teeth are missing, nearby teeth can move into the empty space, or sometimes the teeth in your opposite jaw can move up or down toward the space. This movement can cause the following issues:
- Bite problems
- Chewing difficulties
- Pain from the extra stress on your teeth and jaw
- Self-consciousness about the way you look or your smile
A dental bridge includes the following components:
- Abutment (or anchor) teeth: The dentist places two crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap. These anchoring teeth can be your natural teeth or dental implants.
- Pontics: This false tooth (or teeth) fills in the gap and attaches to the crowns.
There are four main types of bridges typically performed during treatment. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these are:
- Traditional fixed bridge: This bridge is the most common. It has two or more crowns and a filler tooth or teeth that are all connected. The crowns keep the bridge in place. Traditional bridges are made of metal, porcelain fused to metal, or ceramics.
- Cantilever bridge: In this bridge type, the pontic connects to only one abutment tooth. This can sometimes be an option for people who have teeth on only one side of the gap.
- Maryland dental bridge (resin-bonded bridge): You may have this type of bridge if you have missing front teeth. It’s made of porcelain fused to metal or ceramic teeth, supported by a framework. Wings on each side of the bridge bond to your existing teeth.
- Implant supported bridge: This bridge is similar to a “traditional fixed bridge” but instead of being cemented in place to teeth, it is held in place by implants.
You may be wondering if dental bridges are the best option for missing teeth.Some people choose partial dentures, which are removable false teeth. These can help, but they require more maintenance on the patient’s part as you must take them out daily to clean them. Another option is a dental implant, which is surgically placed in the jaw. The caring doctors here at Gaston Dental Associates can help you figure out what the best option is for your health and budget. If you are considering a dental bridge, partial dentures, or a dental implant, give us a call today at (704) 396-6616, or click here and fill out the appointment request form. We can’t wait to meet you!