Given that 178 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth and 40 million are missing all of their teeth, it’s safe to say that you’re not alone in trying to make the best decision for replacing lost teeth.
The good news is that you have choices, and finding the right one for your circumstances and goals is possible. While the team here at Peninsula Dental Excellence, including Dr. Jeff Yoshihara and Dr. Jessie Yu, can’t make the decision for you, we can provide you with a few guidelines.
In this month’s blog post, we’re going to focus on the pros and cons of dental bridges for replacing your missing teeth. Let’s take a look.
Spanning the gap with dental bridges
The reason why these replacement teeth earned the name “dental bridge” is because that’s exactly what the device does. If you’re missing a tooth or several teeth in a row, we can attach a structure that holds artificial teeth (pontics) to existing teeth. In effect, the device creates a bridge that fills in the lost teeth with artificial ones.
To secure the bridge, we create abutments by capping existing teeth on either side with a crown to hold the unit in place. If you only have teeth on one side, we can attach a cantilever bridge requiring only one abutment. We can also attach the dental bridge to dental implants.
The many benefits of dental bridges (and a few cons)
There are many reasons why clients opt for dental bridges to replace missing teeth, such as:
When we attach the bridge, we do so in a secure way, allowing you to chew and talk with ease.
Ease of care
Because the dental bridge is permanently attached, you take care of your replacement teeth as you do your other teeth, through regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
Lack of foundation
When you lose a tooth, much of the bone in the alveolar ridge in your jaw gets reabsorbed — well, in the area where the tooth is missing. In fact, you lose up to 50% of the bone within a year after losing your tooth. A dental bridge is a good choice if there’s so much bone loss that your jaw can’t support an implant.
A fast choice
It typically only takes two visits to our offices to get your bridge into place — the first is when we take an impression and prepare your abutment teeth. The second visit occurs when your bridge is ready, and we can secure it into place.
Bridges are more economical if you compare dental bridges with dental implants. That said, while a bridge may cost less upfront than an implant, bridges often require replacement while implants go the distance.
This brings us to one final point we’d like you to consider — if we use a dental bridge, you can still incur ongoing bone loss in your jaw in the area of your missing teeth. That’s one of the reasons why dental implants have become so popular — they form a new root that signals your jaw to continue creating new bone growth.
Of course, the final decision is yours, and we’re happy to help provide you with all the information you need to make a choice that best suits your goals.
If you have more questions about replacing your teeth and dental bridges, feel free to contact our Mountain View, California, office to schedule a consultation.