When it comes to tooth restoration, there are several options, and a bridge is one of them. Why should this one be the best option out of the others… like dental implants.
What Are They?
A bridge is something that covers up the gap between several missing teeth. They are usually comprised of three parts – two crowns and a false tooth called a pontic. The pontics can be made of different materials, ranging from alloys to gold to porcelain. Natural teeth or dental implants act as support.
There are several types of bridges:
- Traditional – This is the most typical type of bridge, with a fake tooth in between two crowns. The materials are usually porcelain fused with ceramic and metal.
- Cantilevered – This has become far less common than in the past – this is done if there are no teeth on both sides of the gap. It’s done if there is already an abutment in use for something else on that side. This is not ideal if it needs to be done in the back of the mouth, due to the pressure from biting.
- Maryland-bonded – This is a resin-bonded bridge. It’s porcelain fused to metal and tends to be bonded on one side of the teeth.
Reasons to Get Them
People get bridges for a variety of reasons, including:
- Maintaining the shape of their face – When people lose teeth, it’s important that the space get filled. Otherwise it can cause one’s cheeks to get a sunken-in look, since there’s nothing holding them there. The bridge can maintain a full-looking face.
- Keeping other teeth from drifting in a different direction – This is also something that can happen if people do not replace missing teeth. The jaw structure does NOT like empty space, and things will move… and that can affect many aspects of their lives, including talking and eating.
- Improving their smile – That empty space can also affect someone’s smile – or their willingness to even do so. Who wants to show someone a smile with missing teeth? Some hockey players, sure, but the vast majority of people get tight-lipped. This can help boost their confidence and have them their old buoyant selves.
- Properly distributing bite force – This goes back to preventing the teeth from shifting in the mouth. The bridge allows the patient to bite down on food and to talk,
Bridges Vs Dental Implants
One advantage of a dental bridge over a dental implant is that the implant requires a good amount of bone mass in the jaw to hold the screw that’s inserted. That’s not a requirement for a dental bridge.
The bridges are not as durable as the implants, lasting roughly 10-15 fewer years, even with excellent care. They also don’t halt the process of bone loss, so that will still be occurring and ultimately can lead to issues down the road. They can also cause stress on the tooth that they are attached, especially the cantilevered bridges. The Maryland bridges also have less support, so they can wind up possibly damaging other teeth.
Ultimately, it may also come down to cost. Even with financing, some patients simply cannot afford dental implants. The bridges are a suitable alternative and the vast majority of them do work well for the patients. It will just require diligence in brushing and flossing along with regular visits to the dentist to ensure that everything is still aligned properly and that there has been no sustainable damage done.
Dr. Shaista Najmi and the staff at Ivory Dental Jacksonville are well-equipped to help patients with their choice of a dental bridge. Should you have any questions, feel free to ask them at the next appointment – call 904-998-1555 to make one.