Dentists often recommend artificial replacements for patients with one or more missing teeth, like dental bridges. Dental bridges, also known as fixed partial dentures, are permanent replacements that literally “bridge” or close the gap between missing teeth. A bridge consists of one or two crowns placed on either side of an opening and a supporting artificial tooth in between. Continue reading to learn about dental bridges’ uses, types and benefits.
WHY ARE DENTAL BRIDGES USED?
Your dentist may recommend a dental bridge if you have a missing tooth or teeth. When a patient has lost a tooth (whether due to gum decay, injury, gum disease or a congenital condition), the teeth nearby often drift or tilt into the space, potentially causing their bite to be affected and resulting in pain. In addition, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), teeth that have drifted are also more challenging to clean, leading to cavities or gum disease.
WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR A DENTAL BRIDGE?
Dental bridges are not recommended for everyone. To be considered a good candidate for a dental bridge, you should meet these requirements:
- Be missing one or more permanent teeth
- Have good overall health
- Have healthy teeth and a strong bone structure to support the bridge
- Have good oral health
- Practice good oral hygiene
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DENTAL BRIDGES?
There are four main types of dental bridges; they are as follows:
- Traditional fixed bridge: A traditional fixed bridge is the most common dental bridge; it consists of a crown on either side of a pontic (artificial tooth).
- Maryland dental bridge or resin-bonded bridge: A Maryland dental bridge often replaces missing front teeth. Instead of using crowns, this type of bridge uses a metal or porcelain framework with wings bonded to the back of the teeth.
- Implant-supported bridge: As its name suggests, an implant-supported bridge uses implants rather than crowns or frameworks. It requires two surgical procedures – one to surgically embed the implants into the jawbone and another to place the bridge over the implants.
- Cantilever bridge: A cantilever bridge is used when only one side of a gap contains a natural tooth. This type of bridge is rarely used.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DENTAL BRIDGES?
Remember, missing teeth can lead to future dental problems. A dental bridge can help address those potential issues in the following ways:
- Restoring a patient’s smile
- Restoring a patient’s ability to chew correctly
- Correcting a patient’s speech and pronunciation
- Maintaining the shape of a patient’s face
- Re-adjusting a patient’s bite
- Stopping a patient’s remaining teeth from moving
HOW LONG DO DENTAL BRIDGES LAST?
Even though dental bridges are considered “permanent” replacements for missing teeth, keep in mind that they do not last forever. On average, dental bridges last five to seven years, but some bridges can last more than ten years if good oral hygiene is practiced.
HOW TO CARE FOR A DENTAL BRIDGE
The success of a dental bridge is directly related to the surrounding teeth and jaw bone – the bridge will no longer be effective if the surrounding teeth and jaw bone are affected by dental disease. Thus, practicing good oral hygiene is imperative.
The ADA recommends the following tips for good oral health:
- Brush twice a day and floss.
- See your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings.
- Eat a balanced diet for good health.
- Dentists recommend avoiding chewy, sticky candy, hard candy and snacks, sugary foods, popcorn and nuts because they can cause problems for your bridge and the surrounding teeth.
- Look for oral care products that contain the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
DENTAL BRIDGES | THE LANDING DENTAL SPA
If you have a missing tooth or teeth, a dental bridge might be the right solution to bring confidence back into your smile and avoid potential dental problems down the road. At The Landing Dental Spa, we accommodate all of our patients with full-service cosmetic and family dentistry. If you have any questions about whether dental bridges are suitable for you, our dental staff will help you find the best treatment option based on your oral care needs and goals. We can also discuss payment plans for dental bridges. If you would like to make an appointment with us, please call us at 304-594-2200 or use our online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!