Tooth bridges, which are properly called dental bridges, are commonly used to replace missing teeth. This is a traditional and reliable option for patients who have healthy teeth on one or both sides of the missing tooth.
Though there are different types of dental bridges, they are all made of two parts: false teeth, also called pontics, and dental crowns or wings. The dental crowns are usually made from porcelain, but they can also be made from metal alloys, gold, ceramic, and acrylic. The crowns or wings are secured to the teeth on one or both sides of the gap and the pontics are suspended in the gap.
Dental patients have four choices when it comes to replacing their teeth with a dental bridge:
Now that you know the basics about tooth bridges, we’ll explain the differences between each type in the rest of this blog.
A traditional dental bridge is the most popular type of tooth bridge because it is the strongest type. It is made up of two dental crowns and one to three pontics. To place the crowns, the dentist must remove a small amount of enamel from the patient’s natural tooth structures. This ensures the crowns fit properly and feel natural.
The dentist places and secures the dental crowns and the pontics hang in between. Each dental bridge is designed to match the rest of the patient’s smile.
The only difference between the cantilever dental bridge and the traditional dental bridge is that the cantilever only has one dental crown. The process of placing the dental bridge is the same.
This tooth bridge is the best dental bridge option for patients with one natural tooth beside their missing tooth. So, if you’re missing a back molar or if a tooth on one side of your gap already has a dental crown, your dentist may recommend a cantilever dental bridge.
Maryland bridges don’t use crowns, but instead, they employ a porcelain or metal framework (or wings) to hold the pontics in place.
The advantage of a Maryland bridge is that the patients’ natural tooth structures stay intact. However, this option is not as strong as the traditional or cantilever bridge, and not all dentists offer it.
The most effective and long-lasting solution to missing teeth is an implant-supported dental bridge. Instead of being anchored to a patient’s natural teeth, a dental bridge is secured in place by two dental implants.
The process for placing dental implants and healing is significantly longer than with other dental bridge types, but most patients and dentists believe the benefits are worth it.
Dental implants are different because they support jawbone regeneration. When a patient is missing one or more teeth, the jawbone begins to deteriorate. When a dental implant, which acts as a tooth root, is placed, the jawbone is stimulated and the two naturally integrate. This makes the dental bridge much more secure and saves the patient from experiencing atrophy and further tooth loss.
Implant-supported dental bridges are best for patients with three or more missing teeth in a row. The dentist will determine exactly how many implants are necessary.
For more information about your tooth replacement options, contact an experienced and qualified dentist near you today.
Dr. Richard L. Rodgers in Atlanta, GA is prepared to help you achieve a fully restored, healthy, beautiful smile. Call 404-577-6620 to schedule your initial consultation.