There are several options for replacing both the appearance and functionality of a missing tooth or teeth. One of those options is a dental bridge. A dental bridge is one or more false teeth which are suspended between two crowns, thus the name “bridge.” While the dental bridges of past decades could be bulky and look false, modern dental bridges are often indistinguishable from natural teeth unless closely examined.
If you are looking to replace a missing tooth in the Houston area, please call 832-610-3123 today to schedule an appointment with a dentist at Scott Young, DDS.
Using Dental Bridges
Because dental implant technology has come so far recently, many cosmetic dentists prefer to use dental implants where possible, instead of dental bridges. However, this is not always practical. If your bone and gum tissue is incapable of sustaining an implant post, a dental bridge must be used instead.
Functionally, they act exactly like normal teeth. They are resistant to normal wear, and they often last as long as the teeth supporting the crowns. Unlike removable partial dentures, dental bridges are cemented in place, leading them to sometimes be called fixed partial dentures.
Dental bridges are often used to replace prominent front teeth, particularly where an implant would be too bulky for the depth of the teeth. They are more rarely used in back teeth, which are often supported by sturdier gums and periodontal tissue which can more readily support implants.
Dental bridges are also a great option if your teeth next to the missing tooth are damaged but generally healthy. A dental bridge can replace the missing tooth and restore the damaged teeth in one procedure.
Caring for Dental Bridges
Unlike removable dentures or partial dentures, dental bridges do not require special care. They can be treated like your natural teeth with the exception that, because the false teeth are affixed to the neighboring dental crowns, you cannot floss between them. However, you must floss underneath the bridge, to dislodge any food particles or bacteria that may collect. You should, however, take care to practice good dental hygiene and have your teeth cleaned regularly.
Limitations of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges offer many advantages that make them a good restoration of choice in many situations. But they also have limitations that make them less popular than dental implants overall. They require that both teeth adjacent to the missing tooth have restorations placed on them. Removing healthy tooth material is less than ideal.
Dental bridges also force the supporting teeth to do the work of the teeth they’re replacing. In most situations, that means two teeth are doing the work of three, which can strain the teeth and potentially lead to premature failure of the supporting teeth. To help avoid this, a detailed study of the bite can ensure that the bite forces in the mouth are properly balanced.
Dental bridges also don’t stimulate the jawbone and gums under the teeth. This can lead to a loss of bone where the tooth was lost. The lost bone can also lead to a reduction of gum tissue, which can lead to a gap under the bridge. This cosmetic defect can be especially significant when the bridge is in the front of the mouth.
Overall, dental bridges do not usually last as long as dental implants, making dental implants a more attractive option. As dental implant innovations make them usable in more situations, we can expect dental bridges to diminish in popularity.
Please call 832-610-3123 or contact our Houston cosmetic dentistry office today to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Young. Scott Young, DDS serves patients in Houston, The Woodlands, and Spring, Texas.