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Are you considering dental bridges as a tooth restoration option? Dental bridges can be a great solution if you have one or more missing or severely damaged teeth. However, before making a decision, it’s essential to understand what dental bridges are and how they work. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of dental bridges to help you make an informed choice.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is a prosthetic tooth or multiple false teeth that are anchored in place either with dental implants or by using crowns on adjacent teeth. It gets its name because it “bridges” the gap between healthy teeth. Before considering a dental bridge, your dentist will examine the area to determine if you are a suitable candidate. This involves assessing the strength of the anchor teeth and evaluating the underlying structures using dental x-rays or a CBCT scan.
Once you are deemed a suitable candidate, the next step is to choose the type of dental bridge that is ideal for your situation. There are four main types of dental bridges:
Traditional Dental Bridge
A traditional dental bridge is the most common type. It consists of artificial teeth attached to dental crowns placed on the teeth on each side of the gap. While traditional bridges are sturdy, they require modifying the neighboring teeth.
Cantilever Dental Bridge
Cantilever bridges differ from traditional bridges as they use only one anchor tooth. They are typically used in the front of the mouth and not recommended for the back due to the stress they may place on a single tooth. Cantilever bridges are strategically positioned to save time and money but have specific limitations.
Maryland Bonded Bridge
A Maryland bonded bridge follows the same basic design as a traditional bridge but uses a metal or porcelain framework as an anchor. This eliminates the need to alter the nearby teeth, making it a more cost-effective and sensible alternative. However, the strength of the bond depends on the adhesive’s tensile strength, and metal frameworks can discolor teeth.
An implant-supported bridge has a similar structure to traditional bridges but is fixed in place using dental implants rather than adjacent teeth. This type of bridge is suitable for filling larger gaps with multiple missing teeth. Implant-supported bridges offer resilience, durability, and can restore normal function. However, they require a more invasive implantation process and a healing period.
Advantages of Dental Bridges
Now that we understand how dental bridges work and the different types available, let’s explore their primary advantages:
- Dental bridges are generally less expensive than dental implants, making them a more budget-friendly option.
- They can be installed more quickly as they do not require bone grafting.
- Bridges can be supported by healthy teeth, offering a more secure alternative to dentures.
- They can improve your ability to chew and speak properly, prevent teeth from shifting, and reduce the risk of bone loss.
- Unlike dentures, bridges are permanently fixed in place, eliminating movement and discomfort.
Disadvantages of Dental Bridges
While dental bridges have several advantages, it’s crucial to understand their drawbacks as well:
- The treatment process may take longer, especially if bone grafting is required before implant placement.
- Maryland bridges may cause permanent damage to healthy teeth and are less resistant to biting pressure.
- Bridges do not prevent bone loss like implants do since they sit above the gum line.
- Healthy teeth adjacent to the bridge must be filed down and covered, increasing the risk of irreversible damage.
- Bridges have a limited lifespan compared to implants and may eventually cause harm to anchor teeth.
- A poorly fitted bridge can lead to deterioration of the tooth beneath the crown.
By weighing the pros and cons of dental bridges, you can make an informed decision about replacing lost teeth. It’s important to consult with your dentist to address any additional questions or concerns you may have.
If you’re ready to restore your smile and replace missing teeth, reach out to Boca Dental and Braces today. Our friendly dentists can guide you through your options and help you take the first step towards a healthier, happier smile.