You’ve lost a tooth, or several in a row, and you want to explore your options for restoring your smile, as well as your ability to easily chew and talk. Fitting all of these bills is the dental bridge, which is a reliable and popular option for missing teeth.
Finding the right replacement for your missing tooth (or teeth) is important and the team here at Peninsula Dental Excellence wants to make sure you have the information you need to make the best decision for your goals. To that end, Drs. Jeff Yoshihara and Colin Au want to devote this month’s blog post to one of the true workhorses of dentistry — the dental bridge.
Dental bridge basics
A dental bridge is a technique in which we cap the existing teeth on either side of the place where your tooth (or teeth) is missing and use these crowns to anchor replacement teeth that bridge the gap. The replacement teeth are made of durable materials that mimic your natural teeth in terms of color and strength.
Of course, the above describes a traditional dental bridge, which assumes that there are healthy teeth to either side of your missing tooth (or teeth). There are ways in which we can attach pontics (replacement teeth) to just one abutment tooth, if necessary.
We can also use dental implants to secure your replacement teeth, which provide superior stability for your bridge.
Advantages of dental bridges
To help you choose the right tooth replacement, it’s helpful to understand some of the pros and cons of dental bridges.
For example, because we attach the pontics to existing teeth (or implants), dental bridges provide superior stability. People with several missing teeth in a row can opt for partial dentures, but these devices may not offer the same stability as dental bridges.
Also, unlike dentures, bridges are not removable, which means you care for them as you do your existing teeth.
What dental bridges cannot accomplish is preventing bone loss in your jawbone, which occurs when you lose teeth and your bone ceases to remodel in that area. Dental bridges only recreate the crown portion of your tooth and not what lies below the gum line, which means you may still encounter some bone loss.
You can offset potential bone loss through dental implants, a technique in which we implant a new post into your jawbone, which we then cap with a crown.
While superior, implants can add up, financially speaking, which is why some people prefer a more economical solution, such as bridges.
Another advantage of the dental bridge, insofar as the comparison to dental implants, is that there’s no surgery involved and your replacement teeth are ready after two visits. With dental implants, we need to wait until the post fuses into place first, which can take months.
We hope that we’ve provided you with enough information to help with your tooth-replacement decision. If you still have more questions about dental bridges or you’d like to make an appointment to get one, please contact our office in Mountain View, California.