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If you have a missing tooth or missing teeth, a dental bridge might be a good tooth replacement option. While many people think that dentures are the go-to solution for tooth loss, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, modern dentistry is coming up with increasingly innovative solutions for tooth replacements, and improving many of the solutions that we’ve already developed—including dental bridges. If you are suffering from loss of functionality, or simply lower self-esteem, because you are missing a tooth or several teeth, you may be the ideal candidate for a dental bridge.
A dental bridge isn’t just a great way to hide an embarrassing hole in your smile or improve your ability to chew or speak clearly. They also have structural benefits—ones that can improve the overall health and safety of the teeth surrounding the bridge.
What are Dental Bridges?
There are several different methods for replacing missing teeth with prosthetics; dental bridges are one such method. While dentures are a removable replacement, dental implants are a permanent replacement, and involves the surgical insertion of a titanium post directly into the jawbone. Dental bridges, however, fall somewhere between these two. As the name suggests, these prosthetics work by creating a “bridge” between the teeth surrounding the area of tooth loss. Instead of fixing a replacement tooth into your jawbone, or creating a removeable prosthetic, a replacement tooth is affixed on a more or less permanent basis to the natural teeth immediately adjacent to the area of tooth loss.
Bridges are often a good option if you are missing several teeth in a row, but still have healthy, strong teeth adjacent to the area.
There are several different types of dental bridges, including:
- Cantilever dental bridges: A cantilever dental bridge is an option if you only have strong, healthy teeth adjacent to one side of the missing tooth/teeth. This is a less common procedure, as the resulting bridge is not as strong as traditional dental bridges.
- Traditional dental bridges: A traditional dental bridge utilizes crowns for the adjacent teeth with a “pontic” (or tooth replacement) between them. These are the most common type of dental bridges, and are typically composed of ceramics or porcelain-fused-to-metal.
- Maryland bonded bridges: These are sometimes referred to as resin-bonded or Maryland bridges, and can be composed of porcelain-fused-to-metal, plastic, or porcelain alone. They’re supported by a metal or porcelain framework and have “wings” on one or both sides which bond to your existing teeth.
Common Reasons You May Need a Dental Bridge
There are a number of different reasons that a dental bridge might be the right choice for you. Of course, we always recommend that you consult with your dentist at Anchorage Dental Group first and foremost, but here are a few of the reasons our patients have opted for dental bridges:
- Fill in a gap from a missing tooth or several missing teeth: Missing teeth are a problem—both cosmetically and physically. Many people experience a lost of confidence in themselves when they have missing teeth. But aside from cosmetic issues, missing teeth can cause other problems as well.
- Repair facial shape: Many of us aren’t really aware of how our teeth help to fill out our facial shape. In fact, teeth play an important role in your overall facial structure.
- Prevent adjacent teeth from being damaged: When you are missing teeth, the adjacent teeth often take on more wear and tear.
- Avoiding the need for dentures: Dentures are a hassle for many patients, and unnecessary in many cases where bridges or implants might be an option.
The Process of Getting a Dental Bridge
Getting a dental bridge requires at least two visits. During the first visit, your dentist will prepare the adjacent teeth by recontouring them to accept the custom-made crown that will be used. They’ll also take impressions of your teeth to send to the lab so that your bridge looks as natural as possible.
On the second visit, your custom bridge will be adjusted and attached. If necessary, you may return for future adjustments, per your needs or on the advice of your dentist.
If you think a dental bridge is right for you, call Anchorage Dental Group today for a consultation!