Missing one or more teeth is very common for many patients.
The Canadian Dental Association reports that on average adult patients may have three missing or decayed teeth. Fortunately, there are a number of solutions to replace these teeth, including dental bridges. A dental bridge may be used to restore an area with one or more adjacent missing teeth.
A bridge has two primary components.
The abutments (or supports) for the bridge are created by placing a crown on either a natural tooth or an implant. The synthetic tooth that replaces the missing tooth is called a pontic. In the case of one missing tooth, the two teeth on either side will be prepped for crowns and the missing tooth will be replaced with a synthetic tooth that is connected to the crowns on either side of the missing tooth. In the case of several adjacent missing teeth, one or more implants may provide the abutment.
There are four main types of bridges used in dentistry:
Traditional Dental Bridge
For patients with one or more teeth missing, a common treatment option available is the “dental bridge” – this attaches the new teeth to the adjacent natural teeth. It is generally preferred over a removable appliance due to its better comfort in chewing and minimally intrusive presence.
Nonetheless, this treatment option has certain disadvantages. First, the adjacent natural teeth have to be prepared to support and hold the bridge. This requires the removal of parts of the surface which can, over time, create undue stress on the supporting teeth. Second, the areas where the teeth are missing will often experience gradual bone resorption since there is no root system in place to prevent this from occurring. In addition, food and bacteria can sometimes collect underneath the bridge, creating problems such as gum disease and decay.
This type of bridge as a traditional bridge, is supported on only one side instead of both sides. These bridges may create additional stress on the supporting tooth, causing it to be more likely to loosen or fracture as the restoration can act as a lever.
Implant Supported Bridge
An implant supported bridge is attached to, or supported by one or more implants. The use of dental implants to secure a bridge ensures that you get optimal from the prosthetic teeth as well as reduction in the resorption of the bone. Additionally, not having the bridge attached to the adjacent, natural teeth eliminates the need to prepare them and reduces the forces placed on them. Undue forces can occasionally cause problems and adversely affect the overall oral health.
For patients with missing teeth, implant bridges can offer a comfortable, esthetic solution with many benefits. It offers an natural looking, functional, and long-term solution that does not require support from your healthy, adjacent teeth.
If you have lost multiple teeth, an implant supported bridge may be an excellent choice.
This kind of bridge is supported by a metal structure that is cemented onto the back teeth. This type of bridge is not as strong as a traditional bridge, however it can preserve the tooth structure of the adjacent teeth by avoiding the use of crowns for the abutments. These bridges may not stay in place when heavy biting and chewing forces are placed on the restoration and will add pressure to the supporting teeth.
Contact our office to learn more about your options in restauring your mouth and achieving the smile you have always wanted.